February 12 I Monday
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me…” —John 10:14
Within each of us is a deep-seated desire to be known. God created us so this need would be met by our relationship with Him and with others, but sin has broken those relationships and introduced contempt, self-consciousness, and loneliness into our world. This is why some of us find it difficult to let our guard down. We can be apprehensive, even fearful of growing too close to anyone because we have been disappointed or hurt in the past by someone we trusted. This leaves us vulnerable and distrustful of others so we put up protective walls around us.
Our desire to be known is often tempered by our desire to be loved. In Tim Keller’s book, “The Meaning of Marriage,” he writes, “To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
Even marriage, our most intimate human relationship, often fails to provide the love and knowing we so deeply desire. God alone can provide this, and Jesus conveys how by comparing Himself to a good shepherd who intimately knows his sheep. Much of Psalm 139 is about how we can take comfort in the fact that God knows our deeds, thoughts and actions. Many people, however, will say they prefer not to be known, and shy away from any forum that reveals something about them. They will keep all their aspirations, struggles, joy and pain hidden from view. As the Good Shepherd, Jesus knows everything about us, and there is comfort and security in that, even for the most introverted person, because deep down we all need to connect with something greater than ourselves.
To be known and loved by God fills a vacuum that meets a most vital psychological and emotional need. As we discover how well and how deeply God knows and loves us, it will completely change how we interact with others. When we find our value in God’s love for us, rather than in what others think of us, we will find it easier to serve God and to freely open our hearts to Him. We can act or speak without fear or shame because we know God knows us and accepts us as we are. To be known and loved by God not only fills us, but deepens our relationship with Him, which completely changes our perspectives and our lives.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for being the “Good Shepherd” who knows, loves and cares for me. Help me break down any barriers that prevent others from seeing Your life in me. Thank You, Jesus.