I surprised myself a few days ago when I was able to answer a rather complicated question about God posed by a preacher on the radio. As I sat feeling a bit more smug than I should, it occurred to me that the answer would not have been found in any one Scripture that I might have been able to call to mind. I hadn’t memorized the answer from one of the many books I have read or a sermon I’ve heard. I was able to arrive at the answer because I know God. Oh, I still have a lot to learn about Him, but it was a lightbulb moment when I understood that the Creator of the universe is knowable.
When I first became a Christian, I was desperate to learn all I could about the events and people in the Bible. My goal was to learn and remember as much as I could. I wrote out genealogies, a chronology of all the major events, and each of the Jewish festivals and the meaning behind each one. I mapped out a timeline of kings adding important notes about each one, whether they were good or bad, whether they ruled in Judah or Israel. I wanted to be sure I knew what message each of the prophets delivered, to whom they tried to speak, and how they died. I was clearly learning historical facts about God’s work in our world. What I didn’t realize was that I was also learning about God Himself. Through the events He included in His message to us, I learned about His faithfulness, His goodness, and how great His love is for us.
Deuteronomy 4:29 – “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”
Each year for the past five years I have read the entire Bible. Each year God brings so many new things to my attention. Each time I spend time in God’s Word, I remind myself that this book is how God chose to tell us things He wants us to know and I feel so close to Him. Sometimes I am surprised at the thoughts He brings to my mind, the insights He gives me. Some days I read and don’t have this experience but even on those days I feel near to God as I read. It’s so amazing to know the God that created me wants me to know Him. The relationship is not one-sided – it is not merely that God knows me so intimately – He has provided ways for me to know Him in the same way.
In addition to reading the Bible, I regularly listen to respected Christian teachers on the radio, at my church and on TV (although I have learned to be very careful about whom I watch on TV – it seems to be the one media where false teachers abound!). Allistair Begg, James MacDonald, Erwin Lutzer, Ravi Zacharias, Hank Hanegraaff, Charles Stanley, Michael Yousseff, Adrian Rogers, Ron Jones, Chip Ingram and Tony Evans are just a few that I can count on to present sound Biblical teaching. Christian authors are another provision from God to help us know Him better: Arthur Murray, C.S. Lewis, George Muller, A.W. Tozer, Dietrich Bonhoffer, and many current Christian authors. Each day, after reading and meditating on Scripture, I read other Christian books, often two or three books at a time! On days when I feel down I pop on the earplugs and listen to Christian music. It is so uplifting and provides a way for me to praise God instead of focusing on myself. It’s better than any anti-depressant I have ever been prescribed!
To know God, we must seek Him – earnestly and diligently. There’s no quick or easy way to do this. Just as in our human relationships, it takes time. Don’t neglect this essential aspect of your Christian life. It is so much easier to obey and serve God when you know Him. It’s easy to come up with excuses. Those dirty dishes will still be there, the laundry will remain in that hamper until you’ve spent time with God. Knowing Him will actually make washing those dishes and clothes a more joyful activity – because you will understand how every activity in your day can be used to glorify Him!
For so many years, I worked on memorizing other people’s answers or finding Scripture that answer questions others might ask about God. But as I have got to know God better, I can reason through what I know to be true about Him. Knowing His character and His attributes is the best way to equip ourselves to lead others to Him and to help them know Him rightly. Knowing Him also helps me make decisions that will glorify Him and bless me, giving me the best life possible. Knowing Him helps me get through difficult times because I know of His faithfulness and great love. He is a very real presence in my life when I make Him the priority. Not only does He make each day more joyful, His strength and comfort have become real resources that I can call on to get me through the struggles.
How blessed are we that we serve a God that wants us to know Him and has provided so many ways that enable us to have a relationship with Him!
1 Chronicles 28:9 – “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.”