Pleasing God, Making Disciples of Jesus Christ

A Personal Christ

Isaiah 53:4-6 – Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

THEME OF THE DAY: A PERSONAL CHRIST. There is a significant difference in knowing about Jesus Christ and knowing Jesus Christ. Unsaved people may have knowledge of Christ but not know Christ. Saved people will have a knowledge of Christ and the experience of knowing Christ. And for Christians, the daily challenge is to ensure we don’t rest in our knowledge of Christ and not grow in knowing Christ. How would we know the difference? Three things will be in the life of a Christian knowing Christ. First, we will walk in joy. As we hunger to know and pursue Christ in His Word, in His church, and in prayer, we see more and more of His glory and that always produces joy. Next, we will find our affections more in heaven than the earth. The things of this world will not satisfy and we will long more and more to be with Him who we know and love. Finally, the Christian growing in knowing Jesus, not just knowledge of Jesus, will be deepening in their love for God’s people and the lost. We will find ourselves naturally denying ourselves to serve God’s people and invest in the Gospel to the lost. Yes, there is a huge difference between knowing about Jesus Christ and knowing Jesus Christ. The former is dead religion while the latter is Biblical Christianity lived out.

As simple as it might be in distinguishing the difference between mere knowledge of Christ and walking with Him in a living way, it isn’t easy to keep the flame ablaze in our walk with Him. We feel the pressures of life, the stresses in our responsibilities, and the pull of a sinful world and flesh drawing us to having a cold existence of mere knowledge of Christ without the warm spiritual experience of knowing Him. And when the fullness and busyness of life grabs us by the throat so to speak, the first thing which gets choked out is our spiritual life. As that occurs, welcome a Christian life resting more in the knowledge of Christ than the abundant life of knowing Christ, but there is help and we find it today’s scripture.

This is a familiar text to believers. The great chapter in Isaiah proclaiming our suffering Lord. But when it comes to familiar verses or portions of scripture, there is a danger. They become so familiar a loss of personal awe occurs. We lose the powerful wonder of God’s Word with our familiarity. They easily are reduced down to mere words and sadly, often read without thought or affection. And that is what leads to a dead Christianity of knowing about Christ, but not growing in knowing Christ. So, let’s do something with today’s scripture to help us overcome that danger and enjoy a personal Christ. I am going to personalize Isaiah’s words in the next paragraph. Read it again and again and again in my personalization. It will fuel our hearts with love and desire to prevent a mere knowledge of Christ in our profession of faith in Him. Here goes . . .

“Surely he has borne MY griefs and carried MY sorrows; yet I esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for MY transgressions; he was crushed for MY iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought ME peace, and with his wounds I am healed. I, like a sheep, have gone astray; I have turned to MY own way; and the Lord has laid on him MY iniquity”.

Let the personal nature of Isaiah’s words move our hearts to adoration and love; to a personal Christ – “Borne MY GRIEFS, carried MY SORROWS, pierced for MY TRANSGRESSIONS, crushed for MY INIQUITIES, brought ME PEACE, with His wounds I AM HEALED, and the Lord has laid on Him MY INQUITY.” That my friend is a personal Christ and the way to prevent an impersonal Christianity.

PRAYER: “Father, help me not be deceived with a mere knowledge of Your Son while lacking intimacy with Your Son.”

QUOTE: “We only will grow to be like Christ when we live consumed with and by Christ”.