Posts Tagged ‘knowing God’

I came across this term today and love what it communicates. J. Rufus Moseley used the word firsthander to describe himself since many in his day labeled him a mystic (an effective way to invalidate the intimacy he encouraged others to seek with The Lord). While the strategy may have been successful among much of “orthodoxy”, it doesn’t hinder those that discover you can have a firsthand, one of a kind relationship with your creator. In fact isn’t that exactly what Jesus taught?

1Corinthians 2:14-16

The unspiritual self, just as it is by nature, can’t receive the gifts of God’s Spirit. There’s no capacity for them. They seem like so much silliness. Spirit can be known only by spirit. God’s Spirit and our spirits in open communion. Spiritually alive, we have access to everything God’s Spirit is doing, and can’t be judged by unspiritual critics. Isaiah’s question, “Is there anyone around who knows God’s Spirit, anyone who knows what he is doing?” has been answered: Christ knows, and we have Christ’s Spirit.

As we grow in intimacy with God we learn to be ready to hear from Him at any time. He will seldom lay out the schedule for us. We have to be ready and willing to make changes in order to be used by Him. The adjustments will almost always involve people. God is way less concerned with tasks, plans and programs than He is with people. His heart is always for us and we need to forever keep that in mind. We want to look at every encounter with the folks around us as an opportunity to help them get a little closer to God. Let’s keep our hearts and eyes open to those things that seem like interruptions so we don’t miss the chance to join God in touching someone.

Did you know it’s possible for the study of the Bible to get in the way of a relationship with God? What? Okay just for the record I totally encourage you to dig deep into God’s word. He’s in there for sure. But there is so much more of Him to know than just what He’s written to us. Scripture is meant to be part of the foundation of our knowing God; it’s not the whole building. Nothing can contain Him; though the depth of scripture is endless it’s still just a drop in the infinite bucket of who He is. It’s easy to bury our nose in the Book thinking that knowing about Him is the same as knowing Him. It’d be like reading everything we can about an athlete or a celebrity and then expecting to be invited over for their Birthday. They might say, “I never knew you”.

Deists and those that hold various other views of God, often label Scripture as inconsistent or full of discrepancy while many of us believe the Bible is without error. This contradiction causes many to reject the scriptures as a reasonable interaction with God. What turns out to be the case most often though is not that scripture contradicts itself but that man’s interpretations of scripture sometimes differ. One man or group sees that scripture says this and then make conclusions far out in one direction while another man or group sees that scripture says that and make their conclusions just as far in the other direction. From anywhere you stand you can see how confusing this can be.

We mustn’t allow the Bible to be dismissed along with the incompatible conclusions of men. Scripture is clear that without God we are unable to understand it. The Bible is just one of the ways God interacts with us. It’s a good place to start for many but is not all that is needed to know God. Knowing Him is a lifelong endeavor that will occupy eternity for us. We have the honor of helping those who doubt find reasonable answers to their questions so that they can see the God who loves them and wants to be involved in their lives.

As we continue our exploration of the various degrees we allow God in our lives, we finally arrive at our second widely held position, agnosticism. Agnostics can’t be circled up and painted with a broad stroke; their beliefs are extremely varied. You will run into agnostic atheists as well as agnostic theists and much in between. In a general sense the agnostic contends that God cannot be proved or disproved, He may exist, He may not but we are unable to know. I like to ask, “If there is a God, would you want to know Him?” Which typically leads to a really good conversation instead of the argument we get when both of us are so insecure about our beliefs that we feel we have to prove the other guy wrong.

This philosophical argument is also known as divine hiddenness and reasons that if there were a God that wants us to know Him then He would have made it so that everyone would. This line of thinking is very closely related to the problem of evil that we discussed a few days ago and is also best addressed by understanding that love and choice must co-exist. I believe that God has taken steps to draw us to Him and that His utmost desire is for each of us to choose to know Him. I think that if we were honest with ourselves we’d acknowledge that our greatest need is to be perfectly loved and accepted in a completely unique way. This is a need that God placed in us knowing that only He is able to fill. So in a very real sense God has created a situation to influence us into knowing Him but we still get to choose.

Really, God is simple? Theologians will tell you that God’s attribute of simplicity means that He is not made up of the sum of His parts. We’ve been saying this; He’s not sometimes this and sometimes that like we can be. He just is and He is all the time. But I think God’s simplicity is more than that. Scripture tells us that He is not the God of confusion however we imagine Him as complicated far too often. Unfortunately we think this way because it makes it easier to ignore what His desire is for us. I love this quote from Soren Kierkegaard:

“The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly.”

By attaching complexity to God we create religion. It becomes easy for us to leave the work of the Kingdom to the professionals, to put the Pastors and Priests between He and us. We become content with showing up each week and having just a little bit more of the mystery unraveled for us so that someday we will be able to be and do what God wants. Most often someday never comes. Today is the day, right now is the only time we can be with God. He is the God of the present and His greatest desire is for us to join Him in it, not to put it off.

For clarity’s sake I need to point out that there’s always more of God for us to know. His depth is infinite. But this is the kind of knowing that is personal not to be confused with understanding, which is intellectual. Sorry I got a bit wordy today. I so want each of us to get this or more accurately, get Him. His love for you brings me to tears.

Incomprehensibility means that God cannot be fully known. This is not to be thought of as God being unknowable. It simply means that we will never exhaust our pursuit of Him. He wants to reveal Himself to us more and more all the time but even when we leave this world there is an eternity of more. He is the eternal prize, the reason to run the race.

We can’t settle for knowing about God. Filling our heads with knowledge on Him is far less than what He desires for us. We can know Him more intimately than we know each other and the great news is that He wants this even more than we do. Let’s not settle for observing who He might be, let’s know who He is.