"Now we believe, not because of your saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed Christ, the Savior of the world." John 4:42....."The Samaritan woman, like Philip, said, 'Come and see.' Much of our personal work, our Sunday School teaching, our preaching, falls short of that. We disseminate information about Jesus, but we often fail to clinch the matter by bringing men and women into His presence." Vance Havner...."If the law we preach is not established in our own hearts, we are of no more account before God than sounding brass or tinkling cymbals." John Wesley
We often hear people say about favorite books, movies, and songs, that they "know them by heart." The lyrics, stories, melodies, are so woven into their minds and hearts, that they just seem to flow out of them. It's a kind of intimacy. How can it be that one can have such intimacy with what is inanimate, yet so lack it as concerns the living Christ?
I heard Tony Evans speaking recently on the deep need of our being "Kingdomized" in our day to day living. That wherever we are, we need to show people what "God looks like" in that setting. In the business world, as neighbors, co-workers, employees, employers, and most of all, ministers, we need to portray to a world that doesn't know Him, just what He "looks like" in all of those places that He has put us. We can't do this when all we have to give is information about Him. It only comes from a personal knowledge and experience of Him. Job said, "I have heard of Him by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes have seen Him." Havner said, "Job knew Him by heart, not hearsay." Do we?
The people of God are to be vessels of His reality wherever we are. Yes, we are each of us imperfect, but the beauty is that in and through our imperfections, He's able to show His perfect love and life. We don't just tell them who He is, we manifest who He is in our living. Imagine how our "worship" would be transformed when the God we know by heart shows up in every aspect of what we call worship? From the teaching, to the singing, and most especially through the preaching, we show forth who He is. In all of it, people "see" Him. As He is. Who He is. When that happens, we don't have to depend upon "props" to keep people engaged. They're engaged with Him. When these same people emerge from that time, they show forth a Christ that others can become engaged with as well. They become living expressions of His peace, joy, strength, and hope. His life flows out of them. They literally mirror Christ wherever they are. And people don't emerge from such times merely emotionally stimulated, talking about the good music and nice sermon. They've encountered Him, and they're not the same people they were. And wherever they go, things will not be quite the same again. This is Kingdom life. Is it our life?
Andrew the disciple met Jesus. He was not content for others, beginning with his brother Peter, to know Christ by hearsay. He wanted them to behold Him for themselves. "Come and see," was his invitation. Information givers can't make that invite. Those who truly know and live in Him can. Can we? Do you and I offer hearsay, or heart knowledge? Are we information givers, or vessels of His reality? I know what the longing of my heart for me to be is. What's the longing of yours?