Choosing to Dance Even if you Have Two Left Feet {our journey to knowing Jesus}

The fireplace glowed warmly and the melodies of Amos Lee guided my steps as I danced around my living room with my sweet girl in arms. Her gaze went back and forth between the flames that swayed with the music, and my lips as she listened to me hum along. If i could have paused this moment in time and just lived in it for longer than the length of that song, I would have gladly.

It has been in these moments that I am getting to know my daughter; that we get to know each other. I am starting to learn things about her that make her unique. I am learning to recognize her needs; when she is tired or hungry. I am learning how curious she is and the things that make her laugh. And I am letting her get to know me too –  the way she grabs onto my cheeks and seems to look deeper into my eyes than feels comfortable at times, or the way she tries to get me to respond when she does something silly.

There is a back and forth exchange that takes place. This knowing isn’t just knowing about one another for the sake of knowledge, but for a relationship.

I think its the same with Jesus too. He became flesh and dwelled among us. He literally put on skin to be with us. And though it has been 2,000 years since He physically lived on this earth, His Spirit dwells with us in our hearts through faith  in each of us that puts our trust in Him.

I don’t know about you, but that is both amazing and completely hard for me to understand.
I am very much a hands-on, tangible, and tactile learner. So the thought of getting to know God – in the person of Christ – whom I cannot physically touch or have a face to face conversation with can be really difficult for me to comprehend. As I said in our last blog post – I would more often prefer a formula than building a relationship with God. A formula or a to-do list somehow makes relating to an unseen God much more concrete. It gives me something tangible to measure or do.

Lets get  honest here.

 

I think formula is so desirable to me in my relationship with God because it makes me feel like I can be in control. And control makes me feel safe.
If I could put God in a box and sum up my knowledge of  Him in 3 points, I would know exactly how to live, and my world would seem a bit easier to handle and I would have something very tangible to roll out and offer to others.

But then there wouldn’t be any authentic relationship. And restoring that relationship between God and man was exactly the reason the God the Son clothed Himself in flesh in the first place.

As we journey in our relationship with Jesus – there is a humility that we need to embrace.   A humility that says: “Even though I can’t understand You completely, I am going to trust you anyways.”

In Matthew 18:4, Jesus says that “whoever humbles himself like [a]child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Emphasis mine)

As I dance with my daughter, she doesn’t try to do the math of whether or not I can hold her weight, or tally the times that I have held her before and decide to take a chance on me.

She just enters into the moment with me. Getting to know me as I get to know her.

I think Jesus invites us to do the same.
To stop overthinking. To stop trying to figure it all out.
In our humility and our childlikeness we will find freedom, for the  Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. (Matthew 19:14)
And we get to know as we are already fully known.

Today we are invited by God, not into a check-list way of living, but into a dance of knowing.
Even if it feels awkward at first.
Even if we bob instead of sway or seem to have two left feet.

But thats okay. We aren’t the ones in the lead. We just get to show up and learn to live loved in rhythm to the song of our God.

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For those of you who love all things tangible & PRACTICAL 

My dear husband who is all about the practical is going to break down some things for us to help us understand what this dance of knowing God actually looks like played out.

Adam Foster here!

We journey in knowing Jesus through two primary processes: Intellectual and Experiential.

We engage Intellectually with Jesus every time we  sit down to study our  Bible, or when we sit and listen to a sermon, read a book (on the Christian life, practice, theology or history), listen to a podcast, hear someone’s testimony etc. As we receive this information we process and filter it. We receive from each of these and then grow in our knowledge of Jesus.

Experientially we engage with Jesus in times of prayer, worship, and while immersing ourselves in the body of Christ (fellowship). Our experiences in these times of Jesus’ presence inevitably speak to us and we learn from them (sometimes unknowingly!). These experiences shape our understanding of God, ourselves, and how we view the world.
The temptation is to choose to be stagnant in our knowledge, to claim to know enough and then participate as a passive recipient of messages or experiences without actively engaging in knowing.

Imagine in a marriage, a wife saying to her husband, “I think I’m done dating you, or communicating with you on an intimate level. I feel that I know you enough already, and I’m comfortable where I’m at.” Such a claim would inevitably wreak havoc on the relationship! But how many times do our actions make such a claim towards our relationship with Jesus? We can easily reduce our relationship with God to checking off boxes and choosing not to participate in the dance of really knowing Him. 

Here is the thing about growing in knowledge: knowledge in our relationship with Jesus is not knowledge for knowledge sake – thinking this is a grave danger! Knowledge in our relationship with Jesus should inevitably lead us to a deeper knowing of Him, that brings transformation to our hearts and lives.  As we grow in our knowledge of Jesus we will likely run into things within ourselves that make us uncomfortable, things that we realize need changing and change takes the continual work of bringing ourselves to Jesus, inviting Him to change us, and humbly learning how to follow His lead. Being stagnant in our relationship with Jesus is easy. But here is the joy – knowing Jesus more transforms us more into being like Him, more loving, caring, more kingdom minded, more healed, more free, more living life to the full. I think this is partially why Paul prayed for the Ephesians that God, “may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better” (Eph. 1:17). 
So I encourage you this year, get intentional in knowing Jesus! Ask yourself: 
  • How have I chosen to be passive in knowing Jesus? How is He inviting me to engage Him more? 
  • How can I engage in Bible reading & community more intentionally this year? 
  • What is an experience I’ve had in the past where knowing Jesus more led to change? What prayer for change do I have for myself this year? 
Join me this year in KNOWING Jesus more.
— Adam Foster
** A note on knowledge and discernment. As we interact with different experiences and theological truths we must always practice discernment. Just because we experience something doesn’t mean it is true or something that we should practice. Just because something is logical doesn’t make it a truth to live by. I suggest taking experiences or truths through 5 filters, asking the following questions: (Bible, logic, history, community, experience)
  • What does the Bible have to say about information or experience? (Bible)
  • Does this experience or information make sense? Is it logical? (logic)
  • What do trusted friends have to say about this information or experience? (Community)
  • How has the church traditionally/historically understood this information or practice? (History)
  • How have my experiences shown this information to be true or untrue? (Experience) 
We must resist the temptation to avoid the work of discernment by simply bending our belief about who God is to fit our experiences, or bending what the Bible has to say to fit our experiences. Jesus desires to speak to us and lead us into truth – the Truth of who He is and who we are in Him – this is a role of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:13). 

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