Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting to Know God

Take a moment and ponder what Ravi Zacharias wrote in his book Cries of the Heart:
“We all know that our faith results in works, but we often forget that the reverse is also true. One of the fundamental differences between the Greek way of thinking and the Hebrew way of thinking was that for the Greeks truth came by reason, and for the Hebrews truth came by obedience.

“We see this several times in the Scriptures. Moses, Ezekiel, Hosea, and Jonah did not feel like doing what God has asked them to do. In fact, every heartbeat within them was impelling them to do otherwise. Yet God said they were to obey. The remedy was not to do God's will because they felt like doing it, but just to do it and their faith would be strengthened.”

In our search of truth we must not only rely on knowledge, evidence, and the material world we observe around us, but also our experience. There is no doubt that faith begins as we understand the evidence for God as we begin to understand His revelation (not only in nature, but also in His Word), but faith is strengthened as we live our lives in obedience to His will. Knowledge is the beginning point of faith, but it is experience that makes it real in our lives.

James wrote; But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it (James 4:11; NLT). We are not to debate with God about what He has commanded us to do; we are to simply obey. I know that might sound like intellectual laziness because I am saying that we are to do whatever God tells us to do with no questions. Just do it as the old Nike commercial said.

I don’t think that is the case. Henry Blackaby in Created to be God’ Friend wrote; “A response of faith is based on fact--that is, what we know, no on what we do not know. Faith is never blind! Faith is based on the God we know!” We obey because we know God and we trust His character. If He asks us to do something we do it, because we know that He wants the best for us. Our knowledge allows us to come to an understand of who God is, and that helps us to respond to His will in obedience.

How do we discover what is God’s character? Hebrews 1:3 reads; The Son reflects God’s own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly (NLT). Looking at Jesus allows us to understand the character of God. The life and teachings of Jesus allows us to understand the character of God. If we want to know God we first have to get to know Jesus.

The only way I know of getting to know Jesus is through the study of the Bible, especially a study of the Gospels. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, All scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It straightens us out and teaches us to do what is right. It is God’s way of preparing us in every way, fully equipped for every good thing God wants us to do (NLT). The Bible claims to be God’s Word, something we can trust. Historically, scientifically, and philosophically the Bible is a book that can be trusted. It is accurate and trustworthy. When we read what it says about Jesus or about God we can be confident what it says can be trusted.

As we learn understand the character of God through the teachings and life of Christ Jesus we are able to know how God wants us to live. Sometimes we will feel ill-equipped to live that type of life. Other times we will have fear which will keep us prevent us from obeying. Faith then isn’t just a knowledge about God, but it is a response to God. It is trusting God even when every instinct we have tells us to give up or hide. It is this response which strengthens our relationship with God.

Responding to God in obedience helps us to discover truth because it takes our faith out of the realm of theory and puts it into reality. Obeying God leads us to experience Him in a whole new way.

Henry Blackaby in Experiencing God wrote; “In Scripture when God did something through an obedient person or people, they came to know Him in new and more intimate ways.” That is the point I want you to understand. It is not primarily though study that we come to know God (that is where it starts and we need to evaluate our experience by the truth found in the Scriptures), but ultimately we come to know God as we obey Him. Truth is made real to us through our obedience to our Creator.


Anonymous said...

I googled Getting to Know God and found your blog. I am preparing a lesson for Children's Church (ages 6-12), and as part of a discipleship series, this subject matter is a lesson in the book I'm using. The verses you mentioned in your blog will be a nice addition to the lesson I'll be teaching. I appreciate your point on doing the word of God, as it is so important for us not be hearers only. I added the link to your blog into my favorites folder to come back to and also listened to your sermon #2, The King, in the Kingdom Series. In addition, I signed up to receive email from your site. God bless you and your hot pursuit of the Kingdom and the King.
Christian Blessings, ~Laurie

Prov. 4:23

Paul said...

Laurie, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment, it is always good to know about a new reader. I hope that you continue to find the content useful.

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