I’ve been listening to the Newsboys’ We Believe recently. The chorus got me thinking this morning…
We believe in God the Father
We believe in Jesus Christ
We believe in the Holy Spirit
And He’s given us new life
We believe in the crucifixion
We believe that He conquered death
We believe in the resurrection
And he’s coming back again…
It’s that last sentence that’s been rattling around in my brain. Jesus didn’t just live amongst us once. He promised to come again.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. John 14:3, NIV
What if Jesus comes back in my lifetime? Will I recognize him?
So many people in Jesus’ day claimed to know God, yet they couldn’t accept His son. Take this tidbit from Luke 4.
Jesus was in his hometown synagogue, reading from Isaiah 61. He told the people that the Scripture was fulfilled in their presence. Their reaction:
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way. Luke 4:28-30, The Message
Not exactly a warm welcome. So what’s the lesson for us? Will we know Jesus so well that we’ll have no trouble recognizing Him when He does come back?
I hope so. Here are three ways to draw near to God, in the hope they will help us recognize His son.
1. Study Him
There’s a great line in the movie Fireproof when one of the firefighters is doling out marital advice. He tells his captain, whose marriage is struggling, that he needs to study his wife. Find out her likes and dislikes, figure out what makes her tick – in short, the captain has to learn as much about his wife as he can.
We should do the same with Jesus. Unlike believers in the early church, we have the benefit of the gospels, a record of Jesus’ earthly life. Even a cursory glance through Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John reveals Jesus’ likes (people) and dislikes (disbelief). We need to know Him.
2. Consider your perspective
I’m notoriously indecisive when it comes to making big (and little) decisions. I hem and I haw, and then I hem-haw some more. But when my husband asked me to marry him, I didn’t hesitate at all. What was the difference? Simple. Whenever I was with him, it felt like home.
It should be the same with God. Psalm 91 tells us
He who dwells in the shadow of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
We’ll recognize Him if we make our home with Him.
3. Listen for His voice
I have two daughters who sound alike on the phone. But I can tell them apart. How? Simple. I know them. I recognize the inflections that make them unique. I know what they talk about. The more time we spend with God, the more we’ll recognize His voice.
The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. John 10:3,4, NIV
It’s the desire of my heart to know Jesus so well that I’ll have no trouble recognizing Him when He comes back.
Let’s talk: In what ways do you draw near to God?