When you meet someone that you want to get to know better, how do you go about that? The answer is based on variables such as the following:
Have I ever met them before?
Do I know anything about them?
If I do know them, is it based on first-hand knowledge or conjecture?
Is what I know about them based on my own experience or the experience of others?
What are my preconceived notions about them?
Is there a cultural bias that I accept or reject related to them?
Have I heard them speak?
Have I read things they have written?
Do I like the songs they have written? The books they have written? The speeches they have given?
Have I romanticized who they are in my own mind?
Is it morbid curiosity?
Do I find them attractive? Emotionally? Physically? Intellectually?
Is it from a purely sinister motive so I can later discredit them?
Is it so that I can later take advantage of them – Physically? Financially? Romantically?
I am sure you can come up with many more examples of the above. The point is, when we meet someone and decide that we want to get know them better, there are inherent biases involved in why we want to do this. Some motives are good . . . some not so good.
Whatever the motive, we need more information. Information is what we do not have or else we would already know them. We do this in a number of ways:
Talking to them
Writing to them
Reading what they have written
Listening to what they say or have said
Listening to what others say they have said or did
Again, I am sure you can come up with many more examples than what I have written above. The point is, as we do this, we continually re-evaluate who they are based upon the new data gathered – the new information we learn in this process.
Sometimes in this process of data gathering, we learn that they have incompatible views with ours. For example, maybe they are staunchly pro-choice and you are pro-life. This may be enough to terminate any desire you have to get to know them any better. However, if your main interest in getting to know them is romantic in nature, you may well overlook their pro-choice stance because the variable you consider most important has little to do with their views on abortion. Rarely does one seem to consider the future implications of overlooking such a thing . . . A romance could lead to marriage and possibly pregnancy. Would their pro-choice stance become a problem for you if you married them, they got pregnant, and as a result, they decided that they wanted an abortion because it interfered with their career goals?
There are a million different roads that could be taken and evaluated in the above paragraph – a million different variables.
As a result, let’s take a more generic approach. You meet or hear about someone that you want to get to know better. You decide, based on what you have seen or heard, that you think they are worth getting to know. Maybe you write them an email and they respond. You like their responses and the relationship starts. You spend time with them. You write them. They write you. You share laughs. You share heartaches. You do things together. You enjoy their perspectives on things. You enjoy their company. You begin to trust them.
As the trust grows, the relationship grows. You are no longer two separate individuals with 2 separate lives. You are becoming part of each other – part of each others lives. You commit time and energy to them and they commit time and energy to you. You do things for each other.
You begin making what is important to them, important to you.
Their views, their desires, and their philosophies become very important to you. People around you, people that also know you, now start start to view you less as an individual and more as a combination of you and this person. Inseparable best friends. To know you, now becomes, to know them too.
What other people think or them, you, or the relationship you have becomes of less and less importance to you. They become more important than the externals.
As the relationship grows, you dig deeper. You want to see what makes them tick. Their childhood, their cultural surroundings, their religion, their life. These become important to you as well. They become important to how you view them and how you interact with them. You find out they have boundaries you are not to cross. It is then, when you realize that you do not want to cross these boundaries, that you won’t cross these boundaries, the reason that you won’t . . .
It is because you truly love them!
This is how it is with Messiah. In the beginning, you don’t know much about Him. You hear about Him, you read about him . . . you decide you want get to know Him. This is the Beginning Stage. As you get to know Him, you start enjoying His company – the comfort that knowing Him brings you. You build a little trust. For many, this is as far as the relationship goes . . .
For some, this is not enough. As their trust in Him grows, His views become more important than their own views. His desires become more important to them than their own desires. They realize for this relationship to go further, they need to change.
They realize they need to make what is important to Him
important to them as well . . .
So they start digging. They want to see what makes Him tick. They want to know Him better. So they dig . . .
Some do this digging at churches. Some do this digging by reading His word. Some do this digging by emailing pastors. Some do this digging by going to school. Some do this by serving at a church or in the community. Some join a specific religion that seems to have all of the mains points covered. Some find specific doctrines of men to be the answer. Some do all of these things. And many find that the data out there is so daunting, and so overwhelming, and more often than not, so contradictory, that they give up and go back to just being content in calling Him Messiah.
This is the Rationalization Stage (attempts to make the unreasonable sound reasonable). This is where many stop digging – content in the rationalization(s) that they have made.
Maybe you have heard them (or ones similar) to them before:
Everyone interprets the bible different
I have a clear conscience
All you need is love
This church has to be right because it is so big . . .
The rationalizations above, and many more like them, often become the impetus of the relationship – sadly, they often become the more important than the relationship itself.
However, not everyone looks for the easy answers or rationalizations. Not everyone is so easily deterred. Some find that in spite of the road blocks regarding dogmas and doctrines of men, that they still want to know Him better – that they NEED to know Him better regardless of how hard it is to disseminate all of the information out there . . . because they want a relationship with Him – because they want a relationship with him that goes beyond what they think they already know about Him.
They start to realize they they do truly love HIM and not just the concept of Him . . .
This is where the relationship blossoms. This is the Love Affair Stage. It is in this stage that people start to understand the following:
Proverbs 8:17 (CJB)
17 I love those who love me; and those who seek me will find me.
He loves us too! It is in this stage, and because of this stage, that what we dig deeper. It is in this stage that find out that the boundaries established by Messiah are boundaries we are not willing to cross because of our love for Him. It is in this stage that we come to terms with another boundary:
John 14:15 (CJB)
15 “If you love me, you will keep my commands;
We see the IF and we know that to love Him is to keep His commands. This is where we we start to realize that living 2 separate lives becomes counter-productive to getting to know Him better. This is where we find out that there are two paths that are incompatible – a narrow gate and a wide road. This is where we endeavor to enter through the narrow gate. Our relationship with Him matters to us. We start spending more time with Him and less time apart from Him. We start to trust Him a little more. We start losing our individuality. We start to become a combination of Him and us.
Many that make it to this point in the relationship never advance past this point. They are content and happy in the relationship. As it happens in many relationships, they are content with not growing any further. They have what they need and want in the relationship – no need to dig any further. Many will spend 30 years in their church or shul this way. For others, this is just the beginning of the relationship.
Who are these others? These are the ones that ask themselves:
If loving Him is keeping His commands, what are these commands?
They are not looking for rules to follow, they are people that trust Him – that trust His commands. They are not looking for a way to get rid of them, they are looking for a way to understand them.
They want to understand them because of their love and trust of Him.
This is the Committed Stage. This is the part of the relationship where misunderstandings don’t result in abandonment of Him. This is the stage where we put His needs and wants above our own . . . This is the stage where His wants and needs become OUR wants and needs. This is the stage where we know the most important command in the text by heart. We have memorized it because we trust Him when He said it was the most important command. We memorize it because we love Him and we trust Him when He tells us that the entire Torah and the entire Prophets depends on this command and the one like it.
This is the stage where we do NOT rationalize, we DO!
We obey this command in the morning when we get up (just like we were commanded)
We obey this command as we are going down the road (just like we were commanded)
We obey this command when we sit down (just like we were commanded)
We obey this command when we lie down (just like we were commanded)
We teach this command carefully to our children . . .
Sadly, this is not a stage in the relationship that most reach. I rarely meet anyone outside of Messianic circles (including pastors) that have memorized the 2 most important commands in the text, let alone know where they are.
How can anyone achieve a deeper relationship with someone
if you don’t know by heart,
what they consider the most important thing is in that relationship?
It is from this committed stage that the Application Stage of the relationship begins. There is little difference between our words and our actions. It is in this stage that we begin to talk like Him, act like Him, and most importantly, LOVE like him. We like the things He likes. We are disgusted by the things that He is disgusted by. It is in this stage that we pursue the Holy standard – the godly standard instead of the human standard – the worldly standard. This is the stage where the externals become a of little or no importance to us. This is the stage in the relationship where doctrines and dogmas disappear. The only filter we consider worthy to view the text by is the one that HE said is most important – the one HE said understanding the entire bible depends on:
Matthew 22:33-40 (CJB)
33 When the crowds heard how he taught, they were astounded;
34 but when the P’rushim learned that he had silenced the Tz’dukim, they got together,
35 and one of them who was a Torah expert asked a sh’eilah to trap him:
36 “Rabbi, which of the mitzvot in the Torah is the most important?”
37 He told him,
“‘You are to love Adonai your God
with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.’
38 This is the greatest and most important mitzvah.
39 And a second is similar to it,
‘You are to love your neighbor as yourself.’
40 All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
When we are at the application stage of our relationship with Him, we look these commands up and memorize them.
We do this because we BELIEVE Him when He says
All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
We do this because we TRUST Him when He says:
All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
We do this because we LOVE Him when He says:
All of the Torah and the Prophets are dependent on these two mitzvot.”
We try to understand by DOING. We apply them as best as we can to every facet of our lives. Our relationship matters to us so we do.
After some time in the relationship at the application stage, the relationship starts to evolve into the Reflection Stage. In regular relationships, after many years, the man and wife start to look, talk and act alike. They start to be reflections of each other. This is kind of how it is with Messiah. We start to reflect Him accurately. An analogy that I use often in teaching this is the following:
He is light. Imagine that He is the bulb in a lighthouse. Imagine that you are the mirrored reflectors in the lighthouse of His light. Do you reflect His light accurately? Let me ask it another way – Is the light in you really darkness? Can darkness reflect light? Are your mirrors so dirty that they do not reflect His light? You see, He is the light in the darkness. He is the warning to those on a course for destruction to turn away. He is the light in the lighthouse warning ships of dangerous rocks that will destroy them. We are the reflectors that reflects His light. If our reflectors are dirty or broken, how many will have their boats dashed and crushed against the rocks?
We become consumed by our relationship with the love of our life – our Messiah and King – Yeshua HaMashiach! We become obsessed with wanting to portray His light, through us, as accurately as we know how. We devour His word in our hunger to know Him more and know what He wants from us more. We break away from the world and worldly passions in big chunks. We care about Him and we care about His reputation (His NAME)! We care about any actions that we might do that would reflect him poorly and hurt His reputation – His Name! Our lives are becoming no longer our own. They are becoming His to do with as He sees fit – to do with as He pleases.
This is where the Slavery Stage of the relationship begins. This is the stage of the relationship that the Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul) had with Messiah. This is the stage we are ALL called to be in. A stage where He is Lord (master).
an emissary because I was called and set apart for the Good News of God.
In the Greek – δοῦλος doulos meaning slave, bondman, servant. King David who is a man after God’s own heart, also called himself a slave:
1 Samuel 23:10-11 (CJB)
10 Then David said, “Adonai God of Isra’el, your servant has certainly heard that Sha’ul intends to come to Ke‘ilah and destroy the city just to get me.
11 Will the men of Ke‘ilah turn me over to him? Will Sha’ul come down, as your servant has heard? Adonai God of Isra’el, please tell your servant!” Adonai said, “He will come down.”
Indeed, we were given and example of our Messiah – the object of our love and devotion – of being a slave:
Philippians 2:5-11 (CJB)
5 Let your attitude toward one another
be governed by your being in union with the Messiah Yeshua:
6 Though he was in the form of God,
he did not regard equality with God
something to be possessed by force.
7 On the contrary, he emptied himself,
in that he took the form of a slave
by becoming like human beings are.
And when he appeared as a human being,
8 he humbled himself still more
by becoming obedient even to death —
death on a stake as a criminal!
9 Therefore God raised him to the highest place
and gave him the name above every name;
10 that in honor of the name given Yeshua,
every knee will bow —
in heaven, on earth and under the earth —
11 and every tongue will acknowledge
that Yeshua the Messiah is Adonai —
to the glory of God the Father.
Have you got to know HIM?
That is my Messiah!!! He is the love of my life!
If we are faithful to him – If we abide in Him – He will not abandon us.
That is my Lord – my Master!