Knowing God

There is a vast difference between knowing ABOUT God, and actually KNOWING God. Knowing God does not come through a program. There is no method we can learn by which we can know Him. Knowing God comes through experience: having a close relationship with Him. Our relationship with God is of the utmost importance. Like any relationship, it requires a commitment of time and effort.

To know God, we must first know Jesus. He said, in John 14:9: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father." We must first accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior in order to begin to know God. Then the Holy Spirit will teach us. In John†14:26, Jesus said: "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

It takes both time and meditation to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to us. We canít just read a passage of Scripture and expect to be able to say, "I know Christ now." We have to meditate on it, or think about it. Joshua†1:8 says: "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shall meditate therein day and night." Meditate on it; think it over, and see what it means and how it applies in our lives.

The Holy Bible is Godís revelation of Himself to us. It is our authority, our only authority, for faith and practice. We cannot depend on tradition or previous experience, (either our own or that of others) as accurate authorities. Experience must always be examined in the light of Scripture. We need to look at what God says and how He works in the Bible, and then make our decisions and evaluate our experiences based on Biblical principles. The Bible is our only accurate authority of what to believe, and how to live.

Most of the time, we pray to know Godís will, and we want a roadmap of His plans for our lives. GOD DOESNíT GIVE ROADMAPS! We want to know all the details, before we act. We almost say to Godí "If youíll just give a detailed list of instructions, I will obey." We somehow think we need to understand everything before we act: His will, His plans, His purpose, and the final results. That is not acting in faith! It is arrogance! We just need to learn to be obedient, whether we understand His purpose or not.

As a matter of fact, we donít need to be praying to learn Godís will for our lives. Thatís a really radical statement, isnít it? But itís true. If we ask the wrong questions, weíll get the wrong answers. We donít need to seek Godís will for our lives; we just need to seek His will, period. Our focus must be on God, not on what we can do and ourselves. The Bible is quite clear: Apart from Him, we can do nothing! (John 15:5) We can always adjust our lives to Godís will, but we cannot adjust Godís will to our lives!

The Bible is quite clear that we must humble ourselves to become servants of God. (Matt. †20:28) What is a servant? We might say it is one who obeys his master. To our minds, a servant would go to his master and say, ĎMaster, what do you want me to doí, and then go and do it. But that is the worldís definition of servant, and we already know that we have to have the Bible as our authority. The Biblical picture of a servant is somewhat different: it is more like that of the potter and the clay. God said, in Jeremiah 18:6: "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel."

The clay can do nothing by itself. Jesus said: "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father do." (John 5:19) The clay can do nothing by itself. It has to be molded, and then it has to remain in the potterís hands. First, the clay has to be molded by the Potter. To be servants of God, we have to allow Him to mold us and form us into vessels that He can use. Then, the clay has to remain in the Potterís hands. Once the clay is formed into a cup or a pitcher or a bowl, it still cannot do anything by itself. It has to remain in the Potterís handís, to be used by Him. We must remain in His hands and allow Him to use us.

God is always at work all around us. He will use us, but only if we are willing to allow Him to mold us and we remain in His hands. Being a servant of God does not require knowledge of all the details or an itemized "to do" list. Servanthood requires obedience.

But a servant must also remember who is doing the work: not him, but God! We donít get a list of orders from God, and then go out and do them. If we could, then it would be us working, not God working through us. The focus must always be on God, not ourselves. We cannot decide how and when and where we will serve God; that is arrogance on our part. The focus is then on US, and what WE want, rather than on God, and His will. We need to understand that we are simply His vessels, to use as He will.

We are a "doing" people. Thatís what the world teaches us. We always have to be doing something. We even say, "Donít just stand there, do something!" And yet, it is God that does the work. Not us. We need to really meditate on that, and let it sink in. Jesus said, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abides in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing." (John 15:5)

It just may be that God is calling out to Christians today: Stop! Donít keep doing things that you think will please me! Take the time to get to know Me, and I will reveal My will to you! Let Me mold you like clay, and become obedient, and I will work through you! Or, as the psalmist wrote: "Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10)

Too often, we think of God sort of like a general: we think He gives us our orders and then sends us off to accomplish them. We go, and try to do what we think He wants. We try in our own power, depending on ourselves, but with the knowledge that God will step in and help us if we need it. WRONG! That simply is not Biblical. When God wants to do something, He has to move us from where we are to where He is. We have to make adjustments in our lives; we cannot stay where we are and go with God.

Whenever God gets ready to do something, He always reveals His plan to a person or to His people. God does not work secretly: he tells us what He is going to do! (Amos 3:7) God accomplishes His work through His people. He always has, and always will.

When we look at the lives of people in the Bible that God worked through to accomplish His purpose, there are certain similarities: When God spoke, they knew it was God. They knew what God was saying. And they knew what they had to do in response. This is the way God works in us, also.

When God reveals what He is about to do, that is our invitation to join Him. This leads to an immediate crisis of belief: Do I believe what God has said? Can God really do what He says He will do? This crisis of belief requires faith and action on our part. Do I believe God? Well, then, what am I going to do about it? We have to make whatever adjustments are necessary in our lives to get to where God wants us.

Too many times, we say something like: "Well, I know God can do what He says, but I just donít think He can use me. Iím just a ordinary person, not too well educated, not too strong, not too outgoing, not a good speakerÖ" We have dozens of excuses why God canít use us.

However, when we think like that, it says far more about what we believe about God than about ourselves. We may even think we are being humble, but itís a false humility. We are saying, in effect, "I have so many faults and defects that even God isnít great enough to use me." But like I said, we arenít pointing out our shortcomings, we are emphasizing our lack of faith in the Almighty God. Faith is not a matter of believing that God can do something, it is knowing that He will.

The fact is, God can use anyone who is willing to be molded and then to remain in Godís hand; anyone who is willing to show their faith in God by making whatever adjustments they need to make in order to obey Him. Look in the Bible: all the people God used throughout the Bible are just ordinary people. The prophet Elijah was "a man just like us". (James 5:17) Peter and John were "ordinary men" (Acts 4:13) All through the Bible we see that God used ordinary people, just like us.

In fact, ordinary people are the ones God chooses to use. God deliberately seeks out the weak, lowly, despised, and ordinary to do His greatest work. (I Cor. 1:26-27) Why? Because then He gets the glory. Then it becomes obvious that it is God at work, not the person. He uses the ordinary to accomplish things that only He can do, and in that way, He is glorified.

We canít measure ourselves by the standards of the world. God has different standards. God will seek out and reward faithfulness, whether the we has been given responsibility for a little or a lot. If we feel weak, limited, and ordinary, then we are the best material through which God can work. A proud person, one who thinks highly of himself and his abilities, will take some part of the credit for himself for anything he accomplishes. God cannot use proud people.

This is a summary of the teachings in the book "Experiencing God" by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King. The book is available from your local Christian bookstore, or contact Lifeway Press, 127 Ninth Avenue North, Nashville, Tennessee, 37234.

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