March 31, 2004
Encouragement for Today
I Want to Know God
Mary Southerland - Author, Speaker and Director with Proverbs 31 Ministries
"I want to know Christ." Philippians 3:10 (NIV)
Last year, our family moved from Florida to North Carolina. We were all very excited about the move - well, most of us were excited. My 16-year-old daughter, Danna, was leaving behind some very special friends and making the first major move of her life. When I asked her what her greatest fear about moving was, the answer surprised me. I thought surely she would say, "I won't know anyone." Instead she responded with an interesting perspective, "No one will know me."
That may very well be our greatest fear about God. We find it almost impossible to believe that we can know Him or that He knows us. That one truth alone changes lives and alters eternity. What does it mean to "know" God? I believe that we can know God at different levels.
The first level is the "acquaintance level" where we think to know God means to encounter Him at certain pivotal times in life. It could be at an especially moving worship service or perhaps in a life crisis. In that moment we really do sense something different and may even go as far as to make a shallow commitment. But in our daily life there is very little - if any - change.
The second level is the "friendship level". Knowing God is not just experiencing a moment of spiritual excitement but a commitment to be actively involved with God. Friends spend time together and are involved in each other's lives. At this level, we are involved with God - to a point. We come to church and may even participate in its activities. We try from time to time to have a daily quiet time and attempt to be disciplined in spiritual habits. In other words, we are really working at this friendship. However, if the friendship level is as deep as we ever go in the pursuit of a relationship with God, sooner or later we will long for something more - because we were created for an intimate relationship with God.
The third level is the "marriage level" of knowing God. I believe that when Jesus says we can "know" Him, He is talking about a "marriage level" relationship. The first time that "know" is used in the Bible is in Genesis 4:1, "Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain". When the Bible talks about "knowing" someone it is not only referring to a physical knowledge but to an even deeper level of intimacy. Many of us settle for a nodding acquaintance or a mere surface friendship with the Father when what He really desires and what we really need is the marriage level relationship. There are many people in the Bible who had that kind of relationship with God.
David was a man after God's own heart.
Moses spoke with God face to face.
Mary, Martha and Lazerus were close, personal friends of Jesus.
The disciples served beside Him day in and day out.
You and I can have what those people had! In 1 Chronicles 28:9 we discover how to have an intimate relationship with God. "And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you." (NIV)
How can we really know God?
First, there is the simple but profoundly impacting promise that if we seek God - He will be found. We sometimes think that God wants to engage us in some kind of heavenly game of "hide-and-seek". He hides and we seek! And He chooses some pretty tough hiding places. When we look and don't find Him, we can almost hear Him laughing at our foolish and futile efforts.
Nothing could be further from the truth! The spiritual reality is that more than you want to find God He wants you to find Him! He made a way for us to know Him when He bridged heaven and earth by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross - for you and for me. If we seek Him we will find Him!
Second, remember who is speaking and who is listening in this passage of scripture. King David, one of God's closest companions, is talking to Solomon, his son. At this point, Solomon is not even seeking God but David tells Solomon that he can have the same relationship with God that David himself has enjoyed through the years. Solomon never did - but he could have. And so can we - by doing what David told Solomon to do.
1. Acknowledge God as God. To know God is to admit and recognize Him as the One and only true God, our Savior, the risen Lord.
2. Surrender everything you are to Him. To know God is to lay down at His feet everything we are, have been or ever hope to be, exchanging our life plan for His, knowing that His plan is our highest plan.
3. Serve Him with absolute devotion. To know God is to live every day, each moment as a sacrificial offering of worship to Him.
4. Seek Him wholeheartedly. To know God is to abandon ourselves to Him, actively searching for Him and His will in every life circumstance.
To know God personally, intimately is to live the life we always wanted to live. Don't settle for anything less!
My prayer for today:
I want to know you! I want to see your face. I want to know you, Lord. I want to touch you. I want to hear your voice. I want to know you, Lord. Lead me in paths that will draw me to your side and mold me into your fully devoted follower. Amen!
By faith, I believe that I can know God intimately. By faith, I believe that He knows me and desires an intimate relationship with me.
What is the level of my relationship with God?
What evidence is there in the Word of God which supports the truth that God wants to know me?
What evidence is there in the Word of God which supports the truth that an intimate relationship with God is possible?
What level of relationship do I really want with God?
Am I willing to pay the price for an intimate relationship with God?
1 John 4:8-9 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. (NIV)
1 Colossians 1:10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and you will continually do good, kind things for others. All the while, you will learn to know God better and better. (NLT)
Proverbs 2: 2-5 Listen carefully to wisdom; set your mind on understanding. Cry out for wisdom, and beg for understanding. Search for it like silver, and hunt for it like hidden treasure. Then you will understand respect for the LORD, and you will find that you know God. (NCV)
1 John 2:3 We can be sure that we know God if we obey his commands. (NCV)
Seven Life Principles for Every Woman by Sharon Jaynes and Lysa TerKeurst
The Journey of a Woman's Heart by Renee Swope
The P31 Woman magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Wednesday, 31 March 2004.