To know God

“…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” (Philippians 3:10; NASB)

We live in the age of information explosion.  More information has been generated in the last three decades than in the previous 5,000 years.  Over 4,000 books are published every day.  One weekday edition of the New York Times includes more information than the average person encountered in his entire life in 17th century England.

Unfortunately, more knowledge has not yielded more wisdom, as the following bits of trivia reveal —

  • If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you would have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.
  • Banging your head against a wall uses 150 calories an hour.
  • On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.
  • The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
  • Americans on the average eat 18 acres of pizza every day (that is, Americans cumulatively, and not individually — that would be a record).
  • Every time you lick a stamp, you’re consuming 1/10 of a calorie.
  • A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
  • The catfish has over 27,000 taste buds.
  • Butterflies taste with their feet.
  • Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.
  • An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain.
  • Starfish do not have brains.

We may have more information, but having information doesn’t change lives.  There is one kind of knowledge that transforms — the knowledge of God.  “The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding,” says Proverbs (9:10).  Knowledge about the Internet, knowledge of cars, knowledge of the stock market, even knowledge about the Bible do not provide understanding for living.  Only knowing God will accomplish that.

What does it mean to know Him?  To know God is to know about Him — so an understanding of the Scriptures, particularly as it reveals His nature and character, is foundational.  But knowing God is far more than that.  It is to be in relationship with Him.  Knowing God presupposes being saved by Jesus Christ and adopted into the family of God (Gal. 4:7).  That’s the minimum of being related to Him.  But to be in relationship with Him also means to live daily in the constant awareness of His presence.  As John MacArthur has said, “Spasmodic thinking of God does not hallow His name.  To truly [know God] is to consciously draw Him into every daily thought, every daily word, and every daily action.”

David said it this way:  “I have set the Lord continually before me” (Ps. 16:8a).  That is not only the only way to the knowledge of God, but the only way to stable living.  God must be ever at the forefront of our thoughts.  We must regularly be thinking and meditating on Him, quick to go to Him in prayer, ever ready to speak a word of truth in His name, always interpreting our life circumstances through the grid of His Word.  He is always in front of us, so we see everything through Him and His Word.  He is the center of our lives and everything we do consists of following and delighting in Him.

“Knowing Him must become a holy passion within us.  It must fill our frame.  It must engage our mind. Religion is inescapable, because mankind is incurably religious.  Take away the true God and we are left with an intolerable vacuum, a vacuum that we and nature abhor.  It must be filled.  If God is banished, idols will rush in to fill the void.” [R. C. Sproul, One Holy Passion.]

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