Knowing God or knowing about God?
If you don’t know God, He can seem distant and indifferent – or angry and demanding. But when you get to know Him, you will experience that He has a personal interest for you – both in the trials and triumphs of daily life. It is possible to get to know God personally, and learn to understand His thoughts and ways!
I read today that by 2025 the world population will number over 8 billion. That’s a staggering number! I try to imagine what it would be like to be in a crowd with that many people; men, women and children of all ages in an array of different fashions, cultures, religions and languages.
How many of these 8 billion people give more than a passing thought to the One who placed them here?
Who is God?
Then my thoughts turn towards the Creator, God, who individually formed each one of us. I wonder how many of these 8 billion people give more than a passing thought to the One who placed them here on this earth. Most people believe in the existence of a higher power and practice some sort of religion, but is it possible to have more than a knowledge or belief that there is a Creator somewhere who gave me life? Is it possible to know God personally – to learn to understand His thoughts and His ways?
For someone who only knows about God, He can seem far away – a distant, indifferent being who doesn’t pay much attention to his or her life. Or He can seem like an angry, demanding God, who is never really pleased with the human beings He created.
But those who get to know God intimately experience that He has a personal interest in them. They experience His presence both in the trials and in triumphs of daily life. They learn to see their daily situations through His eyes and to feel His care for them, even in difficult times. In fellowship with God and God’s Word, they get to know what His will is in each of these different situations and choices they face – and in this deep relationship with their Creator, they also get all the help and strength they need to do their Creator’s will. (Hebrews 8:10-11)
If I can’t see God, then how can I get to know Him?
First of all, I have to want to get to know God.
Johan O. Smith, the founder of Brunstad Christian Church, once encouraged his brother Aksel to spend time with God, “because you become like the one you spend time with.” The Bible is God’s Word to man, and when I read it and receive light by the Holy Spirit, I learn to know God and His ways.
I realize that in my own strength, I can’t do God’s will. Instead of giving up and blaming it on the fact that I am “just human,” I need to turn to God and ask Him for help. I have to give up my plans and ideas and turn inwards to hear His quiet voice.
If I am willing to be humble and admit that I need help, then God is more than willing to guide me and lead me. It doesn’t mean that life will be easy and trial-free, but as I learn to know God better I learn to see these situations in the way God sees them. I can see how He wants me to react, I see how He wants to change and transform me and, through trials, lead me to divine nature. (2 Peter 1:2-4) I get to know God by becoming more like Him!
God’s loving correction
God also lets us get to know Him and His way of thinking through loving correction, or “chastening.” It’s written that the Lord chastens those whom He loves. (Hebrews 12:6) It doesn’t feel good when I hear that voice inside pointing out something that I didn’t do according to God’s will. Perhaps I inadvertently gave an angry reply to someone, and later God by His Spirit shows me how I was wrong, and how I should have done it differently.
…An almighty God who is always there to strengthen them and lead them to joy, peace and righteousness, regardless of what comes their way that day
If I really know God and His ways, then I see how chastening is good for me. By accepting the chastening and acting according to it, my own self-righteousness is destroyed, and I become dependent on the Holy Spirit’s leading and help in my life. Chastening “produces the peaceable fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11.
Why then, out of all those billions of people, are there so few who really have any interest in knowing God? Is it because those who truly want to know God must give up their own thoughts and ideas about how their life should go? They must have a living interest in searching out the things in their nature that are not in harmony with Him, and they must suffer in the flesh (say “no” to their sinful nature, taking up their cross daily) to overcome. But in return they will come to know their Creator as a loving Father and an almighty God who is always there to strengthen them and lead them to joy, peace and righteousness, regardless of what comes their way that day.
This is the most fulfilling life a person could want.
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You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.