Knowing Jesus

Knowing about Jesus is Not the Same as Knowing Jesus

Dear Mr. Wilson:

I am 51 years old and have attended church all of my life. I was baptized at 14, read large portions of the Bible, and heard more sermons than I can count. After reading last month’s Wake Up Report!, I learned that religious life is not a substitute for spiritual life. I now realize that I considered myself spiritually secure without actually knowing Jesus. I may know a lot about Jesus, but I am ashamed to admit that I really don’t know Him. So, what can I do now?

Sincerely, Bonnie

Dear Bonnie:

Thank you for your email. Whether you realize it or not, the Holy Spirit has led you into a profoundly important discovery: Knowing about Jesus is not the same as knowing Jesus. I have four suggestions that may help you to know Jesus in a personal way. Please consider the following:

Step 1. Ask for the Holy Spirit with Determination

“Then he [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], ‘Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.”

Then the one inside answers, “Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.” I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness [persistent determination] he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:5–13, insertions mine)

Even if a 10,000 watt broadcast antenna is 50 feet away, a radio cannot receive the signal unless it is turned on and tuned to the correct frequency. Similarly, Jesus could be standing in our presence (as He did among the Pharisees), yet we cannot know Him and love Him until the Holy Spirit has “turned us on and tuned us in.”

Millions of people are physically alive, but spiritually dead, and the interesting thing about this condition is that we cannot make ourselves spiritually alive through our own efforts! Without the Holy Spirit’s help, there are a million concepts within the Bible that we cannot see or understand. Paul wrote, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (1 Corinthians 2:14)

If you want to know Jesus, go to your prayer closet and ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to you. The Holy Spirit will activate your spiritual receptors so that you can know Jesus.

Step 2. Stop the “Easy Sins”

For the sake of discussion, let us suppose there are three categories for sin: There are “easy sins,” “difficult sins,” and “accidental sins.” Sins that fall into the easy category are sins of carelessness, such as taking God’s name in name, swearing, lying, cheating, and dishonesty. (Overcoming them is not easy, but they are easy to identify.)

Sins that are in the difficult category are sins like hatred, jealousy, bitterness, sexual immorality, selfishness, and greed. Overcoming sins in this category requires significant time with the Lord. Accidental sins are unintentional sins which pop up without warning. These sins occur because we have a sinful nature and from time to time, it overpowers our best intentions.

When a person wants to know Jesus, he shows his desire to the Father by cleaning house. He begins with eliminating the things that he knows are offensive to God. A person should not expect God to listen to his prayers if he willfully lives in sin. (Psalm 66:18) Jesus cannot abide with a person who is negligent, lazy, or indifferent about the importance of sanctification. If you want to walk and talk with Jesus, you need to know that the road to Heaven is “uphill,” but worth the effort every step of the way!

Step 3. Be Willing to Let Go of the World

John wrote, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.” (1 John 2:15–17)

A carnally oriented person loves the world and everything in it! Only when we have a rebirth experience can we avoid loving all that is in the world. Our first birth is according to the flesh and it is attracted to the deeds of the flesh. If we are born a second time, we are born by the Spirit and we are attracted to the endeavors of the Holy Spirit.

A born again person sees life through a very different set of lenses. Paul indicates that everything is different. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

When we pester the Father to give us the Holy Spirit (as mentioned in Step 1), we must be ready for a life-changing experience. When the Holy Spirit dwells within a person, He brings with Him transforming power. The most powerful evidence of receiving the Holy Spirit is not prophesying, talking in tongues, or working miracles.

Instead, it is the obvious presence of the Holy Spirit that brings peace (a calming serenity) and love (replacing hostilities, contempt, and malice for others). The Holy Spirit also brings a strong desire for personal sanctification (not corporate sanctification*).

When the Holy Spirit arrives on our doorstep, the world and its enticements quickly dim and the things that we used to love, we will soon hate, and the things that we used to hate, we will soon love. It is the Holy Spirit’s duty to transform earthbound sinners into heaven-bound saints. This is important because earthbound sinners would not enjoy Heaven at all.

(*Note: When you come across people who are more concerned and frustrated with the religious behavior of others more than themselves, watch out. The Holy Spirit is not involved. Substituting religious ideology for personal sanctification is not a work of the Holy Spirit. However, there is one exception to this warning. People who the Lord appoints to speak corporately on these matters can do so with Holy Spirit approval.)

When a person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit (John 16:13), he becomes a new creation and he cannot get enough of God’s Word. Suddenly, the Bible is no longer a giant reference book, but instead, it is God’s voice! A born again person is encouraged to see and love people as Jesus saw and loved people.

Every born again person receives a mission along with a new set of eyes. As he matures in the Lord, the mission unfolds. Through eyes of faith, he sees and understands the temporal nature of everything that exists on Earth. He also understands that no one can serve God and money.

A born-again person may not know where God is leading, but he knows God and wherever He leads will be fine. A born again person understands that using the name of the Lord is not the same as being called by the Lord! Compare these two passages:

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (Matthew 7:20–23)

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’

Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.” (1 Peter 1:13–19)

Step 4. Spend Time with Jesus

It can be very difficult to consistently spend quite time with the Lord. This is a huge problem in today’s society because people are going crazy with busyness. If spending time with Jesus is not protected (in prayer and Bible study), the devil will quickly notice our developing habit and he will be sure that we will have no time for Jesus!

Every time I see those little solar lights lining a sidewalk, I am reminded of my need for Jesus. The solar light says, “No Sun means dead battery.” The Christian says, “One week without Bible study and prayer makes one weak.” There is no substitute for spending time with Jesus.

If reading the Bible is difficult, start with easier books like Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. If you take your eyes off Jesus for a week or two, your intimacy with Him will evaporate. You will be left knowing about Jesus instead of knowing Him. Jesus said, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Please try these four steps for six weeks and let me know the results:

Step 1. Ask for the Holy Spirit with Determination

Step 2. Stop the “Easy Sins”

Step 3. Be Willing to Let Go of the World

Step 4. Spend Time with Jesus

Larry Wilson

Larry W. Wilson

Larry Wilson, founder of WUAS, became a born-again Christian in 1972. His interest in the gospel led him on a 40+ year quest to learn more about what God has revealed to Earth’s final generation. The results of his research have been shared throughout the world in books, television & radio broadcasts, media interviews, and seminars that are publicly available on all different types of media (see our Christian Bookstore).

What is Wake Up America Seminars (WUAS)?
Wake Up America Seminars, Inc. is a nonprofit, nondenominational organization with a focus on the study of End-Time Prophecy. WUAS is not a church, nor does it endorse any denomination. Our focus is singular: We are dedicated to proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and His imminent return. We are delighted that people of all faiths are diligently using the Bible study materials produced by WUAS. All study materials are based solely on the Bible alone.

Larry W. Wilson

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