I ask this serious question, because I have been sincerely contemplating the state of our Christian faith in America, including my own journey. First, let me say, that I am not questioning the love that my fellow Christians have for Jesus Christ. I believe that this love is real and comes from hearts truly seeking Him. But my spirit is concerned that we do not know Him as we should. We live in a world that makes it difficult to take our focus off of it [the world]; to set it aside for a time in order to pursue the person of Jesus.
What does it mean to really know a person? Of course, it includes the "facts" of who they are -- what they look like; what they've done and what they're known for; and how they are perceived by others. But that's all pretty superficial ... and subjective; what you think about them versus the true nature of a person. But truly knowing Jesus comes from shared experiences with Him; recognizing how He uniquely expresses His love for you. And through those encounters with Him, knowing what disappoints Him, what He expects of you, and anticipating His will for you, and you alone. Truly knowing Jesus is feeling so confident in His love that you are vulnerable enough to let Him see your flaws and failures, because your relationship is so secure, you know who you are in Him, and He in you.
And here's another way you can be confident that you know someone in the deepest sense -- you are comfortable in the silence. And with Jesus, that silence accompanied by solitude, is a blessed time to rest in Him, just listening for His voice, and in turn, praising Him for His friendship and presence in your life. And, for me, the beauty of knowing Jesus is the complexity of our relationship ... it's our intimacy, and feeling interconnected with Him at the very core of my heart and mind. It's what defines and drives my relationship with my own husband because I know how much Jesus, our Bridegroom, loves us both. Ultimately, truly knowing someone is loving them unconditionally, with all your being, until the two of you are virtually inseparable.
But here's where my concern for future generations is being raised... Our Western world has increasingly isolated us. We are not only identified [and divided] by our race, gender, age, social status, and political persuasion, but we are limiting the possibility to know each other to 30-second sound bites, a social media image, or a few sentences and an emoji or two on our phones. We are tuned out from real face-to-face, flesh and blood interactions, and settling for distant, detached, and dispassionate associations. You will never know Christ following that agenda! And we will never experience what God has in mind for the "brotherhood of man". In fact, I don't know if you have perceived this truth or not, but our younger generations don't like to talk on their phones. They prefer only texting. So the desire to hear each other's voices is also being lost. Their time is spent constantly "plugged in" to technology and all its "noise". Where is there room for Jesus, or the ability to hear His voice in that world dynamic?
The truth is that at the heart of every human being is the desire to know others in intimate relationships and to be known themselves, for who they are. And Jesus wants to know us and to be known by us. We can all agree that it is our sinfulness that gets in the way of that intimacy. But now we've allowed technology to expand the gulf, not only between each other, but with our Creator. I am reminded of the story in the Bible of the woman at the well (John 4:6-30). The Bible teaches us that the object of this story is to let this woman know that Jesus knows everything about her sinful life, but still offers Himself as the Living Water that will quench her thirst to know all things about the Messiah. And He tells her that the Father is looking for those who will worship Him "in spirit and truth".
Can we even agree among ourselves what that means, let alone explain and encourage the younger generations how important it is? God is Spirit and we are made in His image, but I fear that too many are only interested in the image they project to the world through social media. And God wants us to worship and experience Him in Truth; those who like the woman at the well, are seeking Him honestly [and earnestly] without pretense or guile [cunning, fraudulent agendas, or deceptive goals]. Jesus isn't worried about His image or how many likes or comments He has. But He is interested in gaining followers who want to exchange this world for eternal life with Him.
In conclusion, I know that there is an undercurrent of beautiful, powerful, and Godly faith rising up in the next generation. God always has His remnant and I am encouraged by the boldness of those I see resisting the temptation of the Enemy to invest in the false image he offers so many of their peers. It is the commission of our older generations, in the time we have left, to be bold as well. To swim against the current of society, and raise up our children and grandchildren in the way they should go. God has not yet lifted the Restrainer's Hand, and He can expand the time we have to sow into them [for after all, He created time]. Let us join together and see personal revival come to individual lives who want to truly know Jesus! Lord, let us see those numbers grow until the Spirit of Revival, Restoration, and Rejuvenation return to this land. We rededicate our lives and our relationships with You to see that happen before we leave this earth!
Psalm 145:18-19 The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
To all who call on Him in truth (without guile). He will fulfill the desire of those who fear and worship Him [with awe-inspired reverence and obedience]; He also will hear their cry and will save them.