12 November, 2009

To "Know" God

I hear people say all the time that they "know" Jesus. The problem is, their life does not bear the fruit of one who really knows Jesus. There is an old saying, "Action speaks louder than words." Sadly, many are so deceived into thinking that they are in a right standing with God simply because they say they know him. But there is a huge difference between knowing God with our mind and knowing him with our heart. Years ago I preached a message entitled, "There Is One Foot Between Heaven and Hell." It was about the difference between knowing about the Lord and knowing him with our heart. There is about a foot between your head and your heart. The truth is, knowing about Jesus and thinking you have all the knowledge you need leads to hell. Building a heart knowledge with Jesus involves real, intimate relationship and worship. Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words tells us that "to know" or to have this kind of "knowledge" is not obtained by mere intellectual activity, but by the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives once we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior. Vines also adds that the verb translated "to know" often times is used to convey the thought of the union or connection that is between a man and a woman. The intimacy is unmistakable in this! There should be this kind of closeness and "knowledge" between us and the Lord.

I've been with my wife now for 24 years. I know her intimately. That is not just a physical thing, but I know her heart, her thoughts. I don't really have to ask her things many times, I already know her desires, her passions, her wants, because I know her in such a way that I am a part her and she is a part of me. I know by the sound of her voice on the phone when she is leaving work when she needs extra attention and to just be loved. By the same token, I can tell when she is ready to forget dinner at home and just get out and go do something. I literally know her footsteps. I have been in Walmart, and with all the commotion going on, I can hear her walking several aisles away and I know when she is coming near. I know her looks, both good and bad. A fleeting glance can speak volumes without ever saying a word. I know the sound of her breathing. I know when she is stressed by that sound. I can tell when she is worried, excited, sad... just by listening to her breathe .
I KNOW my wife.

In a similar way, this is what it means "to know" Jesus!

One cannot "know" Jesus by just attending church... nor by rattling off our "wish list" and demands to God and calling it prayer. I often tell my church, prayer is much more about listening to God than it is talking at him. In fact, the in the passage which we call "the Lord's prayer" when Jesus taught them to pray, the word that is translated "pray" means "to set a trap" or "to catch." Prayer is more about catching the thoughts and heart of God than it is us doing all the talking. To get to know the heart of God, we must spend time with him. We must hang with him. We must spend time in the Word, for this is the way God speaks to us most often. We have to come to understand how God operates. In the way I know my wife's footstep, I can know the sound and rhythm of God as he approaches.

I often wonder how people can even think they have begun to know God when they seldom attend church, and when they do, they don't enter into worship. The heart of that matter is obvious to me that they have not discovered the joy of worshiping the Lord in their daily lives. I have often said that you will never respond to God in corporate worship if you have not first learned to worship him in private. Many people simply do not read the Word. OK... call me judgmental... but it is painfully obvious that people do not read the Word when you make a statement on one of the "familiar" widely known verses of scripture and people stare at you blank faced and acknowledge that they did not know "that" was in the Bible. Or better yet, when they start telling you about something that "the Bible says" and it just is not in there, but rather is one of of those Bible myths. (Such as the Lord helps those who help themselves.)

I would have never gotten to know my wife if I did not spend time with her. Even after 24 years since we began dating and almost 24 years of marriage, I still need and want to spend time with her... just us. I love to go for a walk in the park and hold her and and listen to her heart as she shares about the tales of her students and her life at work which is apart from me. In that way, I can become a part of that part of her life. One of the problems with so many church goers and folks who call themselves Christian, is they only want to know the scriptures that make them feel good, those that directly affect the part of their lives in a way they want to be affected. (such as the blessings and promises of God.) But there is much more to knowing God. God has expectations of me. I am accountable to Him. He has demands he has placed on those who know him. The problem is, many do not "know Him intimately.

I'm on my way to writing a book here, so I'll quit... but it is my prayer today that each one who reads this today, if they don't already, will get to "know" the Lord. Fall in love with Him, passionately.

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