You probably have read the following verses in one translation or another, but there’s something here that you may have missed. I chose the New Living Translation because it takes Koine Greek and translates it into a very familiar vernacular for us. So let’s consider for a minute or two these verses:
“Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognizes.”1 Corinthians 3:8–9 NLT
There is an important truth packaged in these two short verses. This truth is one I recently learned from my dad despite the fact that he went to be with our Lord sixteen years ago.
Dad left behind six Bibles that he had studied, cover-to-cover, and written notes in their margins, augmented with post-it notes when the margins were insufficient. So, today, when I read 1 Corinthians 3:8–9 NLT I saw a note my dad had made in the margin. It read, “To love God, get His attention.” This struck me as a gem.
As I thought about what Dad had written, I reread the verses. Then I looked up the greek word that the NLT translated as “recognizes.” This word means: to ‘know’ in a great variety of applications and with many implications.
How We Do It
Now I began trying to put today’s verses into my own words, not to replace Scripture but to test my understanding of God’s Word. Here is what I came up with (try it yourself): “A person who loves God knows more than the people that think they have all the answers because a person who loves God knows the One that has all of the answers. And that person is one whom God knows everything about.” Remember, at the final judgment, Jesus will tell some people, “Depart from Me for I never knew you.” (Matthew 7:21–23)
We are to love God. In return, God comes close to us, and He recognizes us; He knows us. God’s recognition isn’t like getting a good pair of glasses. Instead, it’s like knowing how you feel when your pet dies. Now I wondered, does coming to God and loving God square with Dad’s statement: “get His attention?” Then I remembered a scene from a 1990s Australian tv cop series that my wife and I watched.
In this one scene, an intense senior detective is on the phone, trying to carry on a conversation with a small child while the police are desperately searching for the child. As the detective continues his toddler-talk a female police officer becomes enraptured with him as he humbles himself to speaks toddler-talk in his attempt to keep the child on the phone.
In that one scene, I saw how to get God’s attention; we do it by becoming enraptured with Him. Our unhindered love for God will naturally result in us performing good works that testify to the majesty of Jesus Christ our Lord. This is how we get God’s attention. We do it with our love.
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