Knowing Christ Deeply

A number of years back I was talking to a random lady on the street about the Lord. I can’t remember the exact context, but I know it was some sort of evangelism myself and a few friends felt called to do at the time. I can’t remember exactly what I asked her, but it was something along the lines of whether or not she knew Christ or had a relationship with Him. However, her answer and my response is still deeply etched in my mind.

She replied, “When I was younger I learnt a lot about Christ and I went to Church every Sunday. We read the bible a lot and most of the knowledge is still there, but I’ve backslid since then. I’m not sure why.” I then responded with what I believe was an inspired analogy, because I had never thought of it until that moment. I said, “Do you know a lot about your favorite celebrities? Do you know what they look like, where they live, who they are going out with, what they enjoy doing, etc?” She replied, “Yes, I know everything there is to know about so-and-so!” I replied, “Isn’t it interesting how we think we know everything about someone, but we haven’t even met them. We think we know them from simply knowing things about them, while at the same time we’ve never sat with them and looked them in the eye, and had a heart-to-heart conversation with them… It is the same with many of us in our relationship with Christ. We learn all about Him through reading about Him in the bible, through teachings, and through others experiences of Him… But in reality we’ve never really met Him on a deep and personal level. We know a lot about Him, but do we really know Him? I’d love to introduce you to Him if you’d like to meet Him…”

I can’t really remember what transpired after this part of the conversation, but I know that the Lord probably spoke to me more deeply through this analogy than He spoke to her. For at the time I don’t think I knew Christ very deeply. I had a lot of head knowledge about Christ and doctrine, and I was doing things for Him, according to what I thought He desired, but I’d never had a deep encounter with Him.  In hindsight, I believe He was honored that I was doing things for Him and sharing about Him with other people, but at the same time He simply wanted to know me deeply, and to be known deeply and intimately by me.

A few notable things happened to me during and after this conversation. As He expressed His heart to this women through me, a broken earthen vessel, my own heart was laid bare before Him. As I felt the need to introduce this women to Christ, I myself met Him afresh. And as I spoke to her about having a heart-to-heart conversation with Him, my own heart touched His in a way that I’d never experienced before.

Over the next few years my heart came to realize that it had been deprived of the joys of discovering His interior presence, and that now was the time to pursue Him and get to know Him in a deep way. I was no longer content with reading about Paul and John’s experiences of Christ. I desired to tap into the reality of what they penned 2000 years ago. I desired Christ.. to know Him! First-hand, deeply, daily, and internally.

As author Manfred Haller wrote in his book Christ, All in All: “It can come as quite a shock to realize that you have believed in an idea of Christ and not in Christ Himself.” My resolve became to know Christ! Not an idea or a doctrine, but simply Christ. While this passion to know Christ deeply sounds nice, it is by no means an easy road. I quickly realized that to know Christ is to know His joy, but at the same time to know His suffering. To know Christ is to know His cross and the way of humility. It is to know sacrifice and rejection. If you want to know Christ deeply, be prepared to experience all that Christ is and was.

To know and pursue Christ deeply also requires that we lay down things that distract us from Him. Whether it be pet-doctrines, disagreements, etc. they often need to be laid at the foot of the cross. To know Christ is also to know His body, the Church. We cannot know Christ and His fullness as lone rangers. One man can only dig a hole so deep. He can only be fully known through His body, His expression, and that means loving and spending time with other believers. To accept Christ is to accept all that make up who He is – His body. As Paul says, when we accept other brothers and sisters, we accept Christ, and when we reject other brothers and sisters, we reject Christ Himself.

There is much more that can be said about knowing Christ but I hope this gives you an idea of what it can mean to pursue and know Christ. I hope that this sparks a desire in you to know Him in a deeper and more intimate way. It is by no means an easy road to follow and know Christ deeply. In fact there will be much hardship along the way, which are always the marks of a genuine follower of Christ who knows Him deeply. But the surpassing joy and glory set before us is much greater… May we come to know Him deeply!

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About the author

Nathan Odell Nathan Odell is the author of Joined to Him. You can connect with him on

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Comments

  1. Amen brother. My heart is one with yours, and interestingly so has been my experience. So here is a poem from my heart to yours…

    Once there were many works, but now there’s only Christ. Once there were only rules, but now there’s so much life. Though up and down I walked and went inspired by my Lord. Not one thing I ever did or said could fill that gaping void. And so I longed from deep within for what I could not see. Until one day he came and said He’d like to dine with me. At first I was afraid of leaving all I’d ever known. So tenderly he ushered me so I wouldn’t be alone. And as we walked and talked of many things inside our heart. I felt such love and joy that I did never want to part. What God was this that would insist to spend His time with me? This surely was a Lord of whom I had to taste and see. So in I went and ate of all the riches of my Lord. And realised that He was so much more than all reward. And what began that day my being entirely did transform. All other things I count as loss to know this glorious Lord.

    Love and miss you brother…

    D

  2. Hi Nathan,

    I have discipleship opportunities at a local township/disadvantaged school. Every 2nd Friday I am privileged to address the whole school at the assembly meeting. This morning I was able to share the essential truth of your blog re knowing vs knowing about. Of course I had to contextualise it to the kidz’ needs. So your seed was spread a little wider. Thanks!

    And thanks also to Dylan – his poem expresses marvellously the feelings of so many of us who have come to dine with Jesus…

    • Nathan Odell says:

      Hey brother Erroll. That is wonderful to hear! I trust the Lord blessed the kids through your speaking and that a seed is planted in their hearts… a passion to know Him personally and intimately.
      Bless you brother.

  3. Brock Fletcher says:

    Nathan,
    This is my first comment, so I’ll say that your writings reveal Jesus in such a great way. I really enjoyed your story here and walking in that deeper walk with Him. What an exciting thing to realize we don’t have to strive to get there!

  4. Brother be blessed, thank you for sharing your heart, amen..

    He indeed is everything we need, He indeed is our fresh air, our sun, our rain, our wind even thunder gives a glimpse of Christ our Bridegroom, Love and friend

    May you step into His fullness as you brother, get to know Him.. How amazing is that, He will never run dry, He is our Cup that overflows, you are dear God, amen

  5. Hey Nathan

    This was a good read and a very important reminder! This is something that all Christians should be reminded of on a daily basis: we so easily forget that we have been saved by grace and that we can never work our way into heaven or gaining Gods favour by mere works!

    Thanks for sharing

Trackbacks

  1. […] Thus, pursuing the Lord with the mind must be coupled with something else. Jesus said in Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We must not only pursue and love the Lord with our mind, but also our heart and soul. In fact, in the Greek, the words used for heart and mind are often used interchangeably. Loving and pursuing the Lord with only our minds will cause the heart to stop, draining the life out of us. We must also love the Lord with our hearts, and let His life infuse us in every way. In this way, things like theology and doctrine will cause us to grow in our love for Christ. We will come to know Him in deeper and more profound ways. […]

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