Recently I listened to a challenging message by Francis Chan from the Desiring God National Conference called Think Hard; Stay Humble.
He taught from 1 Cor. 8:1-3 which closes with this mind-blowing notion: If anyone loves God, he is known by God.
That led to a cross reference to Gal. 4:9 – 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? Chan observed how it seems like Paul caught himself up short early on in this verse. In talking about the Galatians intimate relationship with God, the apostle started to characterize it in terms of their knowing God but then shifted his field to the significance of God knowing them.
What difference does looking at things this way make?
For one thing it affects motivation for prayer. We can ask God for things, all kinds of things, with confidence that He will answer (though not always as we might wish) because we are known by Him. We have a personal intimate relationship with Him. We call Him, Father (Matt. 6:9). He delights to give good gifts to His children (Luke 11:13).
Pastor Chan gives some amazing illustrations of this reality from his own life. I have experienced some of my own lately.
First, my brother-in-law, who has been effectively out of work for nearly two years, got a job this past week! I have asked the church to pray for this for months now. We enjoyed a sweet celebration dinner last Tuesday night with my folks at the table as well.
Second, two doors have opened for gospel bridge-building in our neighborhood. I’ve had the church praying for this request in the enews for months as well. The answer on this front overlapped with the answer on the first. Nancy and I asked to speak with a few of our neighbors about our situation with another family living with us. We sought to head off any possible difficulties or misunderstandings. It just so happened when we called to ask if we could come over that Sunday afternoon, our next door neighbors were visiting on their back porch with an across-the-street neighbor in their regular 4 PM Sunday visit. When we shared the circumstances they assured us we would get no grief from them AND they invited us to join them regularly on Sunday afternoons! I also discovered that our next door neighbors belong to the subdivision book club and invited me to join the discussion this January. I praise God for a 2 Cor. 2:12 breakthrough in my personal desire to do the work of an evangelist (2 Tim. 4:5).
Does your prayer life lack motivation? It might help to ponder the wonder of being known personally by the God of the universe, an even more important idea than knowing Him. It certainly makes a difference for me. Thank you, Francis Chan.