By Ben Potter
I was listening to the radio the other day, and the radio host was talking about New Year’s Resolutions. She said that one of the most popular resolutions this year is to try to be a better person. She took calls from listeners that offered some good ideas on how to be a better person. One idea was to look for the store-clerk’s name tag and refer to them by name during checkout. A nice gesture. And it seems to be a resolution that’s within reach. Yet as the calls rolled in between songs I began to think: does knowing my mailman’s name actually make me a better person? Or is it that maybe, we too often (especially around the New Year) focus way too much on trying to be good and doing good things rather than seeking solely to be known by God.
I have a feeling that most of us have a strong desire to be known as someone better than who we really are. And we do things, outward things, to try to be someone we’re not. Most of the time we have someone in mind who we aspire to be. We dress ourselves up, we try to look the part of that all-star husband, wife, mom, dad, husband, father, man, woman, student, athlete who has it all together, self-sufficient, confident, in control, and through it all maintaining a can-do, positive spirit. And like we heard in a sermon here a couple weeks ago, we look at these people, our idols, people we admire, and we imitate them with the hopes that people will see us as we see our idols. That we might become our idols and experience the richness and fullness of life they are apparently experiencing everyday. And we think that if only we were better, if we were more like them, we’d get what they have, and maybe just then we’d be happy.
Lord forgive us.
Galatians 4:8-9, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?”
Brothers and sisters, why do we do it? Why do we keep going back to the elementary principles of this world? Do we think that we will get something different than what we’ve been getting from the sin and idolatry of this world? We, all of us, are desperately thirsty, but we return to a well full of salt water, and it leaves us thirsting for more. And we return again and again until we are dried up. Why do I keep choosing slavery to an oppressor who will destroy me when I can be known by the King whose well gives eternal life, whose water quenches me forever and whose well never runs dry?
And so we’ve come to it, a New Year’s Resolution: don’t try to be anything else in this world but known by God. Trying to be anything else than a child of the King is slavery and bondage. Be known by Him, our Father-King, and start living life as it was meant to be lived. Desire just to be known by him today. How are we known by God? Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 8:3 that everyone who loves God is known by Him. Love Him. Loving Him takes us from passively “being known” to a very active and intentional getting to know intimately the One for whom you were created to enjoy. My prayer for this year is that the Bride of Jesus Christ would spend more time getting to know her Husband, falling deeper in love with Him daily, and would in turn experience the joy and satisfaction of being known by Him.