In the Savior’s great intercessory prayer given on the eve of His crucifixion, He said, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3).
I have often reflected on how the meaning of this passage would have changed if He had inserted the preposition of between might and know such that it read, “That they might know of thee.” To me it’s clear that knowing of Him isn't enough. Our relationship with Him must move beyond an intellectual understanding of stories, chronologies, names, and places. We need to know Him as intimately and personally as we would know a family member or a close friend if we expect to live with Him eternally.
How do we go from knowing of Him to knowing Him?
In coming to know Him, we need to first learn of Him. He said, “Learn of me….” (Matthew 11:29). Learning of Him is more than just studying His life and teachings. Learning of Him must be an active process. He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me…” (Matthew 11:29, emphasis added). There is nothing passive about taking His yoke upon us. He expects us to do something. He said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know….” (John 7:17). Our faith must move us beyond studying about Him to striving to become like Him by incorporating His way of living into our lives.
He promises: “That every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am.” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:1, emphasis added) Forsake, come, call, obey, keep are all actions necessary to come to know Him. Our faith in Jesus Christ will move us to abandon our un-Christ like ways, and to call upon Him for help. We must trust in Him, and submit our will to His as He did to God's will. As we do this we really begin to come to know who He is.
King Benjamin details additional dimensions of our journey of coming to know the Savior. He said, "For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?" (Mosiah 5:13). Serving Christ and others, and having our thoughts and desires centered upon Him are critical in coming to know Him.
Coming to know Him is the journey of discipleship. It won't be a short journey; it may take a lifetime of refinement and development but the end result--life eternal will be worth it.
Dieter F. Uchtdorf said,
The truth is, those who diligently seek to learn of Christ eventually will come to know Him. They will personally receive a divine portrait of the Master, although it most often comes in the form of a puzzle—one piece at a time. Each individual piece may not be easily recognizable by itself; it may not be clear how it relates to the whole. Each piece helps us to see the big picture a little more clearly. Eventually, after enough pieces have been put together, we recognize the grand beauty of it all. Then, looking back on our experience, we see that the Savior had indeed come to be with us—not all at once but quietly, gently, almost unnoticed. This can be our experience if we move forward with faith….” (Deiter F. Uchtdorf, "Waiting on the Road to Damascus," Ensign, May 2011).
This is my journey—to come to know Him.