I began taking guitar lessons at age five. I have taught and played guitar for sixty-nine years. (How old am I?)
How familiar am I with guitars? Very! I am able to discern whether a guitar is in tune, or out of tune. I can hear chords played, and without looking at the guitar being played, tell you what chord it is. (Mostly, not entirely…) I can listen to a song for the first time, and (mostly) immediately play it. (Really accomplished guitarists do this better than I can.)
I became a disciple of Jesus just before my twenty-first birthday. I have talked and walked and lived with Jesus for fifty-three years. (How old am I?) Jesus became to me, as one scholar calls him, a “familiar stranger.”
From the beginning, Jesus felt familiar to me. I felt safe, at home, with him. Coming to Jesus was a great homecoming!
And, just as the first disciples found the ways and words of Jesus strange, like his use of parables, so did I. Yet I, like those disciples, was, and remain, attracted to him.
I am familiar with Jesus, with more understanding coming daily. I am able to discern what is of Jesus, and what is not of Jesus. The discipleship principle I have learned is:
Discernment is a function of familiarity.
Discernment is in direct proportion to intimacy.
I want you to be familiar with our Lord Jesus. I want your spiritual discernment to increase.
Apprentices become familiar with their teachers. My Teacher has taught me this: The more I know him, the more I see and understand him.
This is what happens to disciples of Christ. May it be so, in you.
I am becoming more familiar with Jesus every day.
I am able to discern spiritual realities.
I can separate the good from the evil.
Revelation from Jesus is increasing in me.
It excites me to think there is so much more to Jesus waiting for me to comprehend.
There is no greater privilege than knowing Jesus my Lord!
(From my book 31 Letters to the Church on Discipleship)