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Feb 19

Just Knowing God – A Necessary Miracle

Did you know that actually knowing God is what life is all about?  Did you know that “but I thought that the Bible meant…” is not the way to start an admissible excuse in the courts of final judgment?  Did you know that “Don’t you know that I did all these great things…” is not a useful comment on Judgment Day?  Did you know that “But I was taught this…” does not actually absolve you of the consequences of your life choices?  Only ONE THING holds any water on that last day: personally knowing the Savior and being personally known by Him.

It is called “relationship” and it is not a euphemism for religion.    It is intimate personal connection, not an abstract belief or even simply a willful act of faith.

Most religious people are going to find themselves pretty disappointed on Judgment Day.  People that put their faith in putting their faith in (sic) some abstract belief will come up empty.  “I prayed a prayer of salvation.”  Really?  And then what?  Was it a magical incantation?  “I believe in Jesus as my Savior.”  Really?  Who is this Jesus?  You know, He is a person, not an abstraction.  He is either known as a real live “person” or He is misrepresented as an empty theory.  Either He is known personally or the faith is a counterfeit lottery stub.  Either you relate to Him as He really is, or you relate to an idol representing Him.

“So how do you know if you know Him?”  Everybody knows these days that it is a relationship, not a religion, right? But how do you know if you know Him?  Someone is asking this question, thinking it is reasonable, justifiable.

Then let me ask you… how do you know that you know anybody?  Either you know the person or you don’t.  If you are asking the question in the previous paragraph, then you probably don’t know Him, and you are very likely looking for a religious answer to your question.  I know that sounds harsh, but if in your offense (despite your offense) you find that you want something more than religion, let me assure you that God is truly knowable, but the way forward is most definitely NOT more religion.

For example, some of you might need to read the Bible (I do, regularly), but then again, maybe some of you have read it too much and received it too little.  Jesus said that the Scriptures are not the way to eternal life.  He said that you need Him personally and that searching the Scriptures can be a deadly substitute.  The Scriptures may lead us to a living Savior, but if they don’t they can lead us to something horrible – religion.

So then what question can I ask?  The only right question is, “So, how can I get to know Him better?” and incidentally, literally everyone can ask that question every day… and really should ask that question every day.  The answer to that question is good news/bad news… just like all of true Christianity… or maybe it is bad news/good news….

The bad news is that you can’t do it at all.  The bad news is that it would take a miracle for you to know God.  But there is some good news.

The good news is that if you really want to know Him, He will show you Himself.  If you are willing to give up your own life and ways, He is willing to be found by you.  If you search for Him with your whole heart, He will Himself cause Himself to be found by you.

You see, He did buy the right to be your Daddy.  He bought us each an infinite get-out-of-jail-free card and is ready to test its limits.  The jail is sin, and the jailor is your own ways and thoughts inspired by your enemy.  But He purchased a total freedom for you.  And you can have this, but your jailor (your thoughts and ways) will lead you right back into jail if you let them.

So when you seek Him and find Him (i.e. He is found by you!), you will see Him.  And when you see Him as He is, you can become like Him, or choose to stay like you.  Things about you (that you think of as actually being you) are parts of the ways and thoughts that keep you away from knowing and seeing Him.  But progressively, continuously, serially (and often in parallel!), He will show you Himself – and you will know Him!  You will know Him as He is, and when you really see Him as He is, you become like Him, giving up your old “you” and becoming the new “you” that is just like Him!  That is why it is not a partial heart that finds Him… if you only kinda want to see Him, you are better off not seeing Him and rejecting Him.  So out of His goodness, He does not show Himself to you!

But you see that even finding Him is bad news/good news.  Bad news for all the “old you” things and ways and thoughts.  And this can be truly painful – it is tough to give up the “old you.”  But the good news is that the “new you” is better, more real, more alive, more knowing Him than the “old you” can imagine.  So progressively, and at the pace that your pain tolerance and your <<whole>> heart for Him allows, you can know God.

But this does not happen all at once.  He is infinite, and infinitely infinite.  Rather than destroying me by exposing me to His infiniteness, He shows me a little part of His back… and I know Him more and become like Him more… and then He shows me a little more.  Really, as you get to know Him, you will find it truly delightful!  It is a delightful process to know and become like… know and become like… know and become like….  It is delightful, painful, amazing, harrowing, awesome, dying, wonderful, beautiful, purposeful, life-giving knowing God!

But it is a miracle!  It is a miracle of grace… freely given grace… but did you know that humility attracts grace?  God gives grace to the humble!  So, “how…?”  Just humble yourself before Him, and decide in your heart that knowing Him is the most important thing, and then ask Him to show Himself to you.  And He will.  But it will be a miracle.

1 comment

  1. Yuka

    Sorry if the critique came aorscs as harsh, but I felt you should know what guys think. Ironically, I found your article in the Baptist Press online next to an article on homosexuality and was repulsed by the thought of swooning over Jesus, having a sizzling relationship with God, or falling in love with Jesus. I referenced Song of Solomon above because that is the only place in Scripture I can think of where such imagery exists. However, no where in Scripture is agape presented in romantic imagery. If I am wrong, can you point out the right references? Such imagery of relational sizzle, swooning, and butterflies is not helpful. Most men would never talk about another guy that way, especially a guy they respect like Jesus. Many women are told to date Jesus, and consider their relationship with Jesus as their relationship with a boyfriend. You made such comparisons in the first three paragraphs of your article. Those images, especially for unsaved men and women, reduce God into something he is not. His love is much greater than mere human romance or eros. I agree that our relationship with God should be the most important, but the metaphors you employ are not constructive. The most useful ways to relate to Jesus should appeal to both men and women.You are absolutely right to emphasize prayer and Scripture for rebuilding a strong relationship with God. I would also add accountability with others of the same gender and evangelism to that list. However, your message could be better and have broader appeal in the future if you will use different metaphors. Don’t be discouraged by this critique; you are doing great, but you will be better! God promises it!

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