|Posted on October 28, 2020 at 10:55 AM|
The more I learn the more I realize how much I do not know! Solomon discovered the same thing and it drove him to drink (see Ecclesiastes 2). After forty-five years of studying and teaching others about God I have to say I still do not understand him. When I was young there were times I thought I had a pretty good handle on who he was, what he desired, and how he worked in the affairs of men. But the more I learned the more I realized how much I really did not know about him.
A significant point in my quest for knowledge about God came when I realized that knowing about God was different than knowing God. There are a lot of people I know about. I have heard of them, read about them, and seen them on the news. But I cannot say that I really know them. The same is true for God. I read about him in the Bible and a variety of other books, heard other people’s testimonies about what he has done, and even heard prophesies about what he is going to do. But that is different than actually knowing him personally.
The apostle John reveals this concept in his general letter when he tells us God is love. In 1 John 4: 7,8 he writes, “Beloved let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loves is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” Here he explains the reason Christians who are born of God do not always love others like Christ. While being born of God gives us the potential to love others only those who “know God” ( not knows about God) are able to love others. Note John does not say that those who do not love are not born of God. Instead he says they just do not know God.
Of particular importance here is that knowing God personally relates to receiving his love for us. It is impossible to truly personally know God without experiencing his love since John declares “God is love”. Our intimate knowledge of God is based on knowing how much God loves us which, in turn, allows us to truly love him. Like any other loving relationship we may experience, our relationship to God is based on a mutual desire to meet each other’s needs. Our recognition of how God satisfies our needs motivates us to satisfy his. While it seems strange to think of God having any need, the truth is he desires and is blessed by our loving relationship with him.
Looking for the ways that God displays his love for us in our everyday lives is the key to receiving his love and knowing him personally. Although circumstances and events may cause us to doubt God’s love we trust his promise that nothing shall ever separate us from the love he has given us in Christ. Such child-like faith in the goodness and love of God gives us the grace to, “glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience, And patience, experience, and experience hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” (Romans 5: 3-5)
Knowing God, who is love, eliminates the fear factor that the enemy uses to bring us into bondage. Living in these uncertain end times we are experiencing constant threats concerning our security and significance as persons. Our faith in the love of God for us offers the hope we need to share that love with one another. It is loving others that gives us boldness to face such times. As John put it in 1 John 4: 17, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.” Let us love one another.