Taylor Swift is one of the most popular people on the planet right now. A normal Swiftie (name of Taylor Swift fan) would never expect to personally meet Taylor Swift. Last year one Swiftie invited Taylor to her bridal shower and wedding. Taylor Swift read the invitation and showed up unexpectedly to her bridal shower (I don’t think she even RSVP’d). Taylor found it important to build a relationship and connection with her fans. Interactions like these are great opportunities for people to get to know one another.
Celebrities are not easy people to get to know on a personal level. We know a lot about them due to E, talk show interviews, and more. There is a difference between knowing about somebody and knowing somebody. I have never met Taylor Swift. I know a little bit about her. I know that she was born in 1989. I know that she is a cat lover. I know about some of her past relationships. I know this information based on articles, interviews, and songs. I know some personal things about her, but I really don’t know her. I have never had a conversation or any type of interaction with her. I may have tried to tweet her once, but she has not gotten back to me yet. There is something special about meeting someone and learning more about them.
A couple weeks ago my church went through a series called Explore God. The last question of the series was Can I Know God Personally? A lot of people have heard of God. They know His character and stories. There is a difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Jesus talks in Matthew 7:21-23 about how sometimes it can be hard to understand the difference.
“Not all those who say ‘You are our Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven. The only people who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On the last day many people will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, we spoke for you, and through you we forced out demons and did many miracles.’ Then I will tell them clearly, ‘Get away from me, you who do evil. I never knew you.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
I get chills when I read or hear these verses because these are people who believe that they know God. They genuinely believe their works are to glorify God. Then Christ responded by saying to them that “I never knew you”. There is no doubt that these people heard of God and know a lot about Him. They were missing a relationship with God.
The beginning of these verses, Jesus mentioned that the people who will enter the kingdom of heaven are those who do what my father in Heaven wants. These individuals seem to believe that they are doing what God wants them to do. I believe that we can justify our walk with God by legalistic measures such as reading our bible, evangelism, attending our church, serving others, and more. I want to state that none of these things are inherently bad. These can be ways to grow in our relationship with God. These things can be bad, when we justify our relationship with God by our efforts, talents, skills, and abilities. The problem with these individual’s response was that they justified their works as a way to know God. The problem with that response is that our works can never earn or build a relationship with God. Our sin was too big that created a huge gap between God and us.
“We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles; nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.” (Romans 2:15-16)
When we reflect back on Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus tells these individuals that they never had a relationship with God. The individual’s response did not reflect their need or faith in Jesus. Jesus states that “I am the way, the truth, and the life, nobody comes through the father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus is our key towards having a personal relationship with God. Jesus lived the perfect life and died our death so that we could be viewed as righteous with God. We needed Jesus to complete these acts because our sin separated us from God. Sin prevents us from having a relationship with God. God despises sin, but He still desired a relationship with us. He allowed Jesus to die on the cross, so that we could be reconciled with Him. Ultimately it is not anything that we can do to know God. It is only through faith in Christ that we can know God personally.
When I heard about the story of Taylor Swift visiting her fan. I could not imagine that fan’s excitement that Taylor actually came to her bridal shower (I am sure she didn’t mind that she did not RSVP). Now Taylor and this Swiftie have a unique connection and stronger relationship. We get so excited about interacting or seeing the people we love such as our family, friends, sports teams, celebrities, and more. I feel convicted at times because why do I not have that type of excitement and value over my relationship with God.
I believe that relationships can be life changing. I can’t express my thankfulness for my friends and family. I feel like a lot of believers are missing out on a personal relationship with God. Pastors, teachers, books, and commentaries are great resources for knowing about God. I believe that too many of us are relying on other people’s teaching and quiet times to know God. It is true that God created us, so He knows us better than we know ourselves. Still He wants us to share our lives with him, so that we can grow stronger and closer in Him.
God reveals and communicates to us through the bible, prayer, church, and many more ways. These resources provide so much potential to have a deeper relationship with Him. I think about how much more fulfilled and growth will happen in our relationship with God, when we purposefully and joyfully spend more time with Him. We are not doing this out of our own efforts, but we do it because we love and value Him in our lives. Please don’t take your relationship with God for granted. Life goes by way too quickly, so treasure your time with God as much as you can on this Earth.
Here are other Frequently Asked Questions and how the Bible answers them.