“And now, O Lord God, you are God, and your words are true.”
– 2 Samuel 7:28
As an early Christian I asked myself, “How can I truly know God?”
I allowed the philosophies and ideologies of the day to influence my knowledge of God and myself. I was blinded by what tickled my itching ears and what my heart believed to be right in knowing God, but my heart is deceptive, as is yours. (Jeremiah 17:9, Mark 7:21)
I assumed that life was about me, and not about God and His ultimate glory – after all that’s what the world told me!
I did not read God’s word regularly but instead listened to the views of friends, YouTube videos, and pithy books, as my source and foundation for “knowing” God. This lead to an incorrect view of God and myself. This is not knowing God, friends; this often veers us away from truth.
It is like eating ash thinking it will satisfy. Living off the world views of others won’t sustain or lead to healthiness, but will instead lead to a dry, parched, and tasteless view of God.
Getting To Know God, Myself
Let me explain: Growing in my faith and knowing the one true God meant reading His word. It was painful at times and took discipline in the early hours whilst I got ready for work, held my newborn sons, rubbed the sleep from my eyes, and got breakfast ready.
However, as I devoted myself (imperfectly) to diligently reading God’s word, prayer, and seeking His face, I came to understand more of the Creator and myself as the created creature.
Jean Calvin said in his preface to the Olivetan Bible,
“[The Bible] is the ‘key that opens for us the kingdom of God’, the ‘mirror in which we see God’s face’ and the ‘testimony to his good will’. It is also the ‘way’, the ‘school of wisdom’, the ‘royal sceptre’, the divine ‘shepherd’s staff’. And it is the ‘instrument of his covenant’, which God has made with us by entering, through his free grace, into the obligation of being tied to us in eternal covenant.”
Calvin was right; scripture is a mirror in which we see the face of God. So why do so many of us settle for a muddy puddle that distorts the image? Our hearts should not be okay with murky images, ideas, and shaky concepts of God. We should be driven to know God through scripture – the only true authority.
What authority do you rest your knowledge of God on?
The Westminster Confession states,
“The authority of the holy scripture, for which it ought to be believed and obeyed, dependeth not upon testimony of any man or church, but wholly upon God (who is truth itself), the author thereof; and therefore it is to be received, because it is the word of God.”
If God is truth, we can safely say that knowing his Word brings about the opportunity to truly know God. However, knowing God is a God-initiated act of saving grace – a grace that redeems, loves, chooses, calls and preserves. God’s work and His Word bring about the faith and the possibility of knowing Him by His Spirit.
It is the truthful master and creator of all things who, by His grace and mercy, makes friends with us; not the other way around. (Romans 5:10)
God has made his character known and has shown His love to us through the cross. (Romans 1:19-20, Romans 5:8)
What difference does your knowledge make?
However our desire has not been for knowing Him but for carnal self and fleshy desires that have wasted away at us like some disease (we call this, sin).
“Scripture is from God. Whoever knows God listens to it…” (1 John 4:6)
God’s Word is the bread of life (John 6:35), the light of the world (John 8:12), the gate (John 10:9), and the good shepherd (John 10:11); it is the Christ that brings meaning, liberation, knowledge, truth and life (2 Peter 1:16-21).
We must read His word and allow it to invade every facet of our life.
We must be willing to be singled out by His grace, lean on His work of grace, and live in light of that grace. Knowing God is a work of mercy on His part and living in light of that mercy is the most radical, liberating truth known to man.
So when you read the word of truth, the knowledge of the Creator and the created becomes clear. That is when the Holy Spirit reveals and opens the eyes of the sluggard to the Christ of scripture. Christ then comes to the table, invades your space, and becomes the center and substance of all that you see before you.
As Martin Luther said,
“Our conscience should be subject to the word of God.”
You want to know the only God, His character, His plan, His relationship with His creation? Then go to the source of truth: His Word, the Bible, that’s he’s given us! Don’t settle for a murky man made concept as I used to do.
Lastly, in the word’s of my hero (the man I named one of my sons after),
“What were we made for? To know God. What aim should we set ourselves in life? To know God. What is the eternal life that Jesus gives? Knowledge of God.” – J. I. Packer
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” – John 17:3
Do you know Him or just know things about Him?