John 5:39-40 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.
Recently a dear friend of mine has been in the news. The things they are saying he’s said and done are not good. Yet, I know this man. I don’t just know about him. I know him. And if there is anyone on this planet with character and commitment to the Lord it is this gentleman. I’ve had mutual friends say things like, “Isn’t it awful about our friend.” To those folks I have replied, “I know him. I believe what I know is true about him rather than anything anyone wrote in any article. Regardless of what I read, I know he is an honorable man.” And that is the truth. I have no idea what the actual details of these circumstances are nor the back story to the events that are being portrayed. But I know him. And I know that he would not do anything intentional to break a law, bend a rule, or hurt the things he treasures- because he loves Jesus so much. Nothing would be worth it to him to dishonor Jesus. This is a faithful, gentle, humble man. I know him.
It has occurred to me that it’s the same with God. There are so many folks in the world that know about God because they have read things about Him (the Bible, etc.) and that’s not a bad thing at all. Reading about God in scripture is foundational, a necessary part of the foundation on which we build our faith. Reading about (or listening to) experiences others who know God can be helpful but need to tested against scripture before you buy in (to include this, by the way). I’m not saying to disregard these things. They are a great supplement. And they can also be a great danger.
What I am saying is, there is a massive difference between knowing about God and knowing God.
There are tens of thousands who know “about” my friend because of reading things in a newspaper or listening to things on the radio or seeing things on the television. But they don’t know him. They just know about him. And what they are reading is someone else’s interpretation of actions and circumstances that may or may not be accurate. Knowing about God, even if it means that you’ve sat in church your whole life learning about Him, singing about Him, does not give a full and accurate picture of who He is. Nor is this what He has said He desires.
Knowing God Himself personally is the key to a love relationship with Him. And that love relationship is what God longs for and the reason Jesus died. No matter how much we know about Him, He longs to be in relationship with us. Let me be clear though, I am not talking about the “love” of God that is promoted these days wherein He’s not Daddy God, he’s granddaddy god- the one that lets you get away with warping his rules, distorting what he’s said, pushing the envelope while he looks the other way. Father God is very serious about what He says to do and not do. That’s a TRUE father- one who holds us accountable to what He says and loves us enough to discipline us in order to save us from destruction.
If we don’t know God, hear directly from God, feel His presence with us, then we are missing out on the most important element of Christianity. It’s the one that will keep us steadfast instead of us swaying in the wind of what we believe when challenges come to our faith. When someone says to us, “This is what God thinks.” and it doesn’t line up with scripture and it doesn’t line up with the God we KNOW, we don’t even have to argue about it. Because we know Him.
Jesus Christ lived and died in order to pay for our sins, that we would maintain the status of forgiven before the Father. Thereby, being cleansed allows the Holy Spirit to live within each of us, speak to us, walk with us. It’s one of the things that makes Christians different from those of other faiths. God will come upon and speak to any who seek Him. But Christians, made pure by the blood of the Lamb, can have within them the indwelling Holy Spirit who came after Christ’s blood was shed. In this state, God walks with us and He talks with us and He tells us we are His own. It is the joy of our salvation to have intimacy with our Father.
Take Away: Being in an intimate and personal relationship with the Lord is the most foundational element there is to maintaining our faith through times when it is challenged and we are unclear as to what to believe. It is also the most fulfilling element of being a Christian, to walk with the Lord through life, hearing from Him, being guided by Him, experiencing His tremendous love and grace.
Prayer: Father, I want to know YOU, not just know about you. I surrender myself completely to You and ask You to lead me, every day, into a deeper relationship with You. I long for Your embrace and to feel Your presence with me. I desire to know that I know that I know what Your truth is and not have to wonder any more. Lord, please show me Your glory!