"Grace and peace
be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our
Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and
godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory
and goodness." (2 Peter 1:2-4)
In Knowing God, Part 1 we saw that the above Bible text teaches that simply knowing God is the key to peace, grace, and everything we need for life and godliness. Then, in Part 2, we learned that this is not simply referring to a casual knowledge of God, but an intimate relationship which can only be had by study, fellowship, and by personally experiencing God.
I don't know about
you, but I was born and raised in a Christian home. I had Christian
friends all of my life, and I made a practice of memorizing scripture
and studying my Bible for over 3 decades. So the study and fellowship
aren't too hard for me to figure out. But the part about personally
experiencing God. Now that's a different story! You see, I never learned
how to do that as a child. I went for 35 years thinking I knew God, when
in reality, I only knew about Him. And I've learned much in the past 5
years that have helped me immensely in really "knowing God". This is the
subject of today's devotional: How to get to know God more intimately!
How to get to know God more intimately . . . Hum. Well, perhaps the question really is, how to get to know ANYONE more intimately! Take a moment to think about it. Let's say you have just noticed a pretty young lady sitting next to you in your Bible class in Bible school. Not being attached to anyone, your heart starts to race, nearly skipping a beat every time she glances your way. A quick inspection of the left hand puts your mind at ease: No ring.
So what do you do? Do you get out your college yearbook and see what it says about this person? Sure. That's a way to at least find out her name!
Do you ask all your friends if they knew her? Yes, this might not be a bad thing to do either.
What about trying to sneak in a brief conversation just before class starts? Also a good choice.
But none of these
options will really let you get to know your Bible school neighbor, will
they? No, I don't think any of you would argue with me when I say that
to truly get to know her, you have to spend time with that person!
But what if your first conversation went something like this? Hi! My name is Lyn. I saw you sitting next to me in Bible school. Do you think you could give me a few of your answers on tomorrow's quiz? And I really need a ride into town. Would you mind? And my brother needs a new pair of jeans. I thought you might have an extra pair. Oh. And we are almost out of food. Could you lend me a quart of milk? Oh, it has been so nice chatting with you! Let's do this again sometime -- say, tomorrow?
You get my point. This pretty young lady would probably never speak to you again!
Okay. Let's try a slightly different scenario. Let's say you make an effort to talk to her for 30 minutes every Sunday morning? The response is very positive, and she expresses an interest to spend time with you more often. But things are busy. After all, you are trying to hold down a full-time job and go to Bible school . . . so Sunday morning is the only time you can spare. And even then, you are in a group of people, and most of your attention seems to be on the others around you. After all, you want to make sure you're talking to this person in the same way others are . . .
Again, I'm sure you get my point. Limited communication would occur, but you probably wouldn't really "get to know" the person very well!
Back to the drawing board.
Let's say that you
and your fellow classmate have actually hit it off pretty well. You are
spending plenty of quality time together, both of you are enjoying the
company of the other, you are even talking on the phone until past
mid-night every evening! But you are having trouble believing what she
tells you. It's not that this person is known to lie or anything like
that, but you've been lied to many times in the past, that you just
can't seem to trust that what she says is true. When she says she will
call, you don't really believe she will. And to avoid disappointment in
case she doesn't, you pick up the phone and call first. Or when your
friend promises to take care of something for you, you don't feel
comfortable, so you do it yourself. Then something terrible happens.
Your new friend says she is there for you, but you don't feel
comfortable letting them into your little world . . . And soon you begin
to feel that you are drifting away. After all, who needs a friend you
can't rely on, anyway?
I could give a few more examples, but I think you understand my point. When we want to establish a relationship with someone, we have to: a) spend quality time with them; b) enter into two-way communication with them; and c) base your relationship, from the beginning, on a foundation of trust.
It is no different with our relationship with God, my friends! Building a relationship with our Heavenly Father is a lot like building the relationships we build on a daily basis! It requires that quality time be spent together, time in which both parties are giving the chance to communicate. And, it needs to be built on the foundation of love, trust, and mutual respect!
But so often, when we are dealing with our relationship with God, we find ourselves giving this low priority. We spend little or no quality time with God, and the time we do spend is usually spent in going over a to-do list -- a list of requests. We talk, but we don't listen! And so often we fail to really trust in our God.
Just as these scenarios are doomed for failure when building earthly relationships, they are also doomed for failure in building a relationship with God. He has so much more He desires to give us. But He can't, because we don't know how to communicate with Him. We don't have a relationship with Him.
Why not give this a try, my friends? Try spending daily quality time with God. Try listening as well as speaking. Try giving God all of your trust. Then sit back and enjoy the blessings He so wants to pour out upon you!
To learn more about how to communicate with God more effectively, see Thursday's edition of The Illustrator, for Knowing God, Part 4.
God bless you as you seek to know Him!
Love in Christ,
(To access the entire "Knowing God" mini-series, please click here.)