As we prepare for a new year and a new decade, a goal we should each have is to know God better. If we know God better, we should be better equipped to love Him more and to live accordingly (live in, not of – fotonni). Thus, for these last three weeks of the year, I am going to repost a short series from 2017 about knowing God. This post is the second of three posts in the series. You can find the first post here.
This post first appeared on this blog’s former site fotonni.blogspot.com on December 14, 2017.
In last week’s post, I attempted to prove that regardless of how much we may know about God, the amount is minuscule compared to how much can be known. I do not mean for that statement (or the post) to provide an excuse for not desiring to know about God. Indeed, God has given us the Bible so we can definitively know certain aspects (attributes) of His being – even if we cannot know them fully. However, the crux of this brief series is that while knowing about God is important, knowing Him is what truly counts.
As a pastor and seminary professor, people expect me to know about the Bible. They expect me to know about God. But a knowledge of God is not the only qualification for either of those roles – at least, it should not be. In Matthew 7, Jesus says that a day will come when many will stand before Jesus having cast out demons in His name, done mighty works in His name, and even referred to Him as Lord (vv. 21-23). However, Jesus warned that some have no place in His Kingdom despite those facts. Again, the words to which I refer are from the lips of Jesus. His reason for rejecting them – “I never knew you.”
Why would Jesus not know these individuals? Because they did not know Him! They obviously knew about Him. They knew about His power for miracles, to cast out demons, and even managed to call Him Lord, but saying the word and living accordingly are not the same. The reality is that we can teach ourselves and others much about God without capturing the essence of who He is and what He desires from us. And what He desires is a relationship with us – not a series of facts about one another, but an intimacy with one another.
Next month I will be travelling to teach others about God and ministry. I have flexibility in my topic so a few months ago I decided the best use of the time is to teach from the book of Mark. I chose Mark because it is short enough to briefly cover over a few days, yet robust enough to give the pastors and church leaders an opportunity to get to know Jesus. Yes, I will be teaching them facts and truths that Mark recorded, but my real aim is to make sure they leave knowing Jesus better. I can teach a great deal of information over the few days I am there, but what I hope I do is create a love for Jesus and who He is. We can teach information, but we cannot force love.
Over these past few years, what I have come to realize is that whether I teach all I know to this group next month, to the students at the seminary each semester, or to the church I lead every week, some people who may be learning this information for the first time already know and love Jesus more than I ever will. I concluded the previous paragraph with one statement about information and love, but here is another. We can know information, but it may not produce love. However, if we know God, it should lead us to better love Him. And that should create a desire to know more about Him as well.
Next week, I will conclude this brief series by sharing the progression of how God has made Himself known and what that means for us in the future.