On Sunday night, in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower, my husband, youngest children, and I laid blankets out on our driveway, and with a symphony of crickets and tree frogs all around us, we gazed up at a billion stars.
“He counts the stars and calls them all by name.” (Psalm 147:4)
And as I lay there, I could not help but feel so very small, and it was in that moment that I remembered the question that was asked in church earlier that morning.
“Are you known by God?”
That is the same question Paul was asking the believers in Galatia to consider. You see, they had started to slide away from the amazing grace of God that had set them free from sin and the law. Instead, they were listening to “other” voices that were telling them that faith in Jesus Christ was not enough. They began to pollute the gospel with self-effort and a works-based righteousness. It’s like they were picking up the chains Christ had set them free from and shackling themselves again.
And don’t we sometimes do the same?
Now, however, since you have come to know [the true] God [through personal experience], or rather to be known by God, how is it that you are turning back again to the weak and worthless elemental principles [of religions and philosophies], to which you want to be enslaved all over again? (Galatians 4:9)
We, too, can fall prey to the lies of the enemy who whispers that, if we go to church, get baptized, read the Bible, serve the poor, give money to missionaries, help our neighbor, etc. then we’re in good standing with God; like we can somehow obtain our salvation and pay for our sin by working it off, but that is NOT the gospel.
Jesus paid it all! Jesus is enough! We can have TOTAL SECURITY that God accepts us completely and eternally if we have trusted in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
I am known by God!
“The great and central basis of Christian assurance is not how much our hearts are set on God, but how unshakably His heart is set on us. And if we begin to grasp that we are “known by God”, we won’t bolster our self-image or standing before Him through our works.” ~Timothy Keller
“What matters supremely is not the fact that I know God, but the larger fact which underlies it – the fact that He knows me. I am graven on the palms of His hands. I am never out of His mind. All my knowledge of Him depends on His sustained initiative in knowing me. I know Him, because He first knew me, and continues to know me; and there is no moment when His eye is off me, or His attention distracted from me and no moment, therefore, when His care falters.” ~J.I. Packer
WOW! Did you absorb the truth in that amazing quote? Let me encourage you to read it again!
Like a woman in childbirth, Paul travailed to birth disciples who were surrendered to Christ taking shape in their lives. This was the goal of Paul’s ministry.
“My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you…” Galatians 4:19
May we surrender to the work of the Holy Spirit within us, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 4:6) We are no longer slaves to sin, but sons of God! He will never rebuke the intimacy that follows our heart’s cry for his life and tangible presence to be formed in us. He transforms us form the inside out as we rely on him to do so. Like clay in the Potter’s hands, may we surrender to his work in us and encourage others to do the same.
How deeply do you care about the spiritual health of others?
Can you, like Paul, say, “Imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.”? (1 Corinthians 11:1)
As Christ is formed in us, streams of Living Water (John 7:37-38) begin to flow from within, and the natural over flow of His life in and through us becomes evident. The things we do, the things we say, the way we spend our time and our money are in response to what Christ has done for us. He gave His life so we could have life!
My life is not my own.
“God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.” (1 Corinthians 7:23)
May we, like Paul, pray that Christ be formed in us as we lay down our lives. May others see Jesus in us and desire to know Him… and be KNOWN BY HIM.
How about you? Are you known by God? Do others see Jesus in you?
If you are unsure, let today be the day that you turn your heart to Him and say,
“I am not my own; you have bought me; forgive me of my sin; be formed within me. Not to me, O Lord, not to me, but to your name goes all the glory.
In the mighty name of Jesus ~Amen”
Rest in the fact that God, who knows the name of every star, knows YOUR name, too.
Enjoy this song as you think about being KNOWN BY GOD!