Knowing God and knowing we know

Knowing God is an interesting subject. So is knowing about God. But the two are clearly not the same. My guess is that a large majority of people who claim to know God would, on careful consideration, be found to know about God, but not to know God to any significant degree. And probably a large majority of self-identified Christians would say they do not "know" God. They would likely be correct.

Knowing about someone is easy. I know about many people whom I have never met. Abraham and Paul from the Bible, for example. George Washington and many others in American history. Others in world history. Probably, you do too. After all, it's simply a matter of research and observation, of gathering information. Any competent journalist can attest to the ease of writing a fairly detailed article about someone - giving the appearance of knowing the person well - while never having met the person. Collecting data.

But knowing someone is a different matter. That requires more than research and information. It's about personal interaction and time significant together. Knowing someone is far less easy, and that's especially true of knowing God.

So how do we come to truly know God? And do we know that we know God? On such an important matter, we don't want to fool ourselves, believing something that's a product of our own imagination. A God whom we define is no God at all. But though it's not easy, neither is it complicated.

I struggled with this issue for years. I want to know God, but how? And how do I know if I really know Him? Is there a link between knowing Him and being "spiritually mature"?

Here's what I have concluded.

How do we know God? Well, let's think about relationships in general. How do I come to know anyone? Not a moment of revelation, certainly. It's a process, not an event. In parts of Texas, they don't talk of having known someone for years, but rather, of having been knowing someone. "I've been knowing Joe for twenty years." A process.

So how to I come to know another person? My wife, or a friend? It's fairly straightforward, right? By choosing to spend significant time together. Doing things, talking, each being a part of the life of the other, shaping a "together life." But notice, it doesn't happen by accident. There is an element of intentionality: We choose to know and be known by another person

It's really that simple, of course. If I want to know someone, I have to spend time with that person. Not just passing time, but interacting, "being there" to each other. Knowing is a process that comes with living life together. And it works more effectively when that living includes hard times together.

Knowing God is no different. God is a person, and reveals himself to us so that we can know Him much like any other person. So how do we live life together with God? A couple thoughts come to mind.

First, read the Bible. Read it often. The Bible is our primary source of revelation from God, and the measure by which we can evaluate the validity of everything else. But don't simply read for information, collecting data. Read for personality and character. What do the stories say about this person we call God? What do his own words say about Him? Who is He?

As we "read between the lines," we can get an idea of the person the stories reveal to us. We get something from the text itself, but we add to that by looking behind the text. What does the text imply, and what does it assume?

Then, like any other relationship, we have to spend time together, talking and doing things. There is no substitute for shared time. Talk, talk, talk. Talk with God about anything and everything that pops into your mind. And, now and then, stop to let Him talk. It's only polite, you know.

As you spend time carefully reading and talking, the relationship will grow, and over time you will come to know God more and more.

But how do we know if we really know Him? How do we know we aren't focused on something out of our own imagination? I think it's again much like other relationships. How do husbands and wives know that they know each other? There are a couple interesting things that we might consider.

First, people in a good marriage begin to act like each other. They take on the characteristics of their partner. They begin to understand how their partner thinks. Over time, each can often predict what the other will do in many situations.

But what about God? No different. As we spend time with God, we begin to take on his characteristics: We start to act like Him. We become, some might say, a "chip off the old block." And over time, we come to know Him well enough that we can actually predict how He might act in a given situation. We know his voice.

We can know God. That's clear from the Bible. We cannot know Him totally, knowing Him as well as He can be known. But we can certainly know Him well, with a relationship of intimacy and enjoyment. And that's the longing of his heart.

9 Comments

To Know G-d...is there anything else in our existence that is as important? I think not. And, I think that most people also feel that pull...that desire to know G-d.

So...what is the problem? In my own opinion...within Christendom, I think alot of the problem arises from the dependence of the Church on the church. With very very few exceptions, the church teaches an accepted dogma of that particular church. And, more often than not (again in my opinion), that dogma is flawed and tends to teach the Church that if they know the dogma of the church, they know G-d.

You see the same type of thing amongst religious Jews...though there is no true dogma within Judaism, there is still this devotion to extra-Biblical writings and teachings by revered Sages (many of which are quite perceptive).

The same holds true in other religions...a devotion to the opinions and writings of leaders within the particular religions.

We rely on the writings and opinions of mere men...and women...to fill our spiritual lives and do not seek the Source.

I agree.
heaven is where Jesus said it was. Seek and ye shall find, love your God with all your heart and strength and all else will follow. Not 99.9999% but 100%. He is our Father we are his children he does catch us, if we let go. I see the kingdom of heaven.

Give him your attention.
May the Holy Spirit be with you give him a chance I urge you. Care about our Loving Father and feel the pain of Jesus.

pls i will be so much glad if u can forword me a bible study on the topic: knowing God .2day

Seyi,

Unfortunately, I don't have such a Bible study. Depending on where you are, I might recommend some books, if that would help. The best thing is to read your Bible often and carefully, and pray a lot, talking to and listening to God.

We have a choice as human beings to do what we want. When we become christians, we have made a choice to follow Jesus. We still have a choice as to what we do in life, but in my experience I now want to do what is right because I am living for Jesus. When I am tempted to do wrong the spirit leads me to do what is right. I get it, God will not and does not force us to do anything. My husband claims to be a christian, but God has shown me that he is not. Our marriage is not in a good place right now. God is looking after me. God will not force my husband to do anything, but as his child, i wonder does God ever intervene for people like me and push this person along a little?

Adam and Eve knew God and never opened a Bible. Neither did Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph nor Melchizedek!

Furthermore, Enoch walked with God and did not see death. Did he have a Bible we don't know about?

Studying the Bible is a good start, but it is not the point or the goal. It's meant to point us to Him but it is not a substitute for Him. Loving the Bible is NOT loving God. Knowing your Bible is NOT knowing God. God and the Bible are NOT interchangeable!

Religious symbols and words are types and shadows of His glory and His Personhood.

The goal is to KNOW God for yourself and for Him to know you.

Reading scripture helps us know ABOUT Him but only walking with Him and intimacy with Him makes us come to know HIM.

i have been walking with the lord for years now and i talk with him as i would my family or friends i feel its important to fellowship with other believers to strengthen our faith when we talk about relationships that means more then one ,we by ourselves need to be careful with our thoughts check them with the word of GOD and trusted friends and remember today is all we really have GOD BLESS

I rely admire you commentary on Knowing God.Bot my assignment is on the question:Can we know God.Please help me do this assignment.
Am a student of Theology in Liberia,West Africa.
my contact is 00231886943032.please be my Friend.
Am also on the face book:Andrew A Conteh,then you can find me.
Thanks for your kindness,
Stay bless.Pst.Andrew A Conteh.

Andrew,

Thanks for your comments and the kind words. I have friends from West Africa, including Togo and other countries. Also from Kenya and Congo, in other parts of Africa.

I am not sure what I can do to help you, but if you have specific questions, I will reply. The basic question of whether we can know God is obvious: Of course we can!! The Bible is given to us so that we might know God. Basic stuff.

I look forward to hearing from you again.

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  • Larry Baden said:
      Andrew, Thanks for your comments and the kind words. I have friends f...
  • Pastor Andrew A Conteh said:
      I rely admire you commentary on Knowing God.Bot my assignment is on th...
  • zivan hertzog said:
      i have been walking with the lord for years now and i talk with him as...
  • solaGod said:
      Adam and Eve knew God and never opened a Bible. Neither did Abraham, ...
  • Sharon said:
      We have a choice as human beings to do what we want. When we become c...
  • Larry Baden said:
      Seyi, Unfortunately, I don't have such a Bible study. Depending on wh...
  • seyi said:
      pls i will be so much glad if u can forword me a bible study on the to...
  • MM said:
      I agree. heaven is where Jesus said it was. Seek and ye shall find, lo...
  • Brook Hayes said:
      To Know G-d...is there anything else in our existence that is as impor...

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