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  • Keith Harris

Knowing God

Knowledge is a marvelous thing. But the pursuit of knowledge can be rather strange at times. It is interesting what some people do to gain knowledge. And the results of their experiments can be interesting. I read a story of a scientist who used the inductive method in his study of the characteristics of a flea. He plucked off one leg and told the flea to jump. The flea jumped. He plucked off another leg and commanded the flea to jump. Again, the flea jumped. This continued until the sixth and final leg. The scientist plucked off the final leg and told the flea to jump. But the flea did not respond. So the scientist raised his voice and commanded, "Jump!" No response. The scientist yelled loudly, "JUMP!" The flea lay there motionless. So the scientist thought for a few moments then took out his notebook. He recorded his observations as follows, "When you remove the legs from a flea, it loses its sense of hearing."(1)

Certainly knowledge, at least the pursuit of knowledge is a worthy endeavor. While stories like the scientist studying a flea are rather humorous, they illustrate a reality that is all too apparent in many people's pursuit of the knowledge of God. Many would pick apart the Word of God only to arrive at conclusions that have no foundation in the actual words of God. Still, the pursuit of knowledge, especially knowledge of God's Word, is extremely important. Charles Swindoll noted, “Knowledge gives substance to faith. Knowledge stabilizes us during times of testing. Knowledge enables us to handle the Word of God accurately. Knowledge equips us to detect and confront error. Knowledge makes us confident and consistent in our walk with God. Knowledge filters out our fears and superstitions.” Coming to know God is paramount in our lives as followers of God. It's not enough just to know about God, we must know God.

But how do we come to a knowledge of God and his will for our lives? How do we come to know God? How do we seek God? In order to find God, in order to come to a knowledge of God, we must search out the truths of Scripture, come to an understanding of what God expects of his people, then willingly submit to God’s will for our lives.

We must also come to understand who we are as God's people. Who are we? We are God’s covenant people. We have been created in the image of God. Each one of us has upon our being the imago dei (image of God). We are called to reflect this image to those around us, allowing others to witness the character of God. One way we reflect this image of God is by being people who live according to the Word of God. God’s Word is said to be an expression of his character. Think about what the apostle John says: “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God...And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth...No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:1, 14, 18). Jesus (the Word of God) reveals God’s character to us. God expects us to live out our faith in such a way that we reveal the character of God through our lifestyle.

We must be people who desire to be like Christ -- people who desire to be like God. This is realized in our character, in our lives. Character matters. In 1 Peter 1:13-16, Peter said, “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” We are called to live differently because of who we are. We are called to conduct ourselves in such a way that God's character is witnessed in our lives. How can we accomplish this if we do not know God. Jesus reveals God to us. He shows us the character of God. He demonstrates what Godly character is. And he calls us to follow him.

If we truly want to know God, we must be spending time in his Word. Knowing God is not something one seeks flippantly. It is not a point we come to halfheartedly. Socrates once told a young man who came to him seeking knowledge, "When you want knowledge as badly as you want air to breathe, then you will have knowledge." When we want to know God and his will for our lives as badly as we want air to breathe, then we will know God and his will for our lives. God said, "You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart" (Jeremiah 29:13).

(1) Paraphrase of story found in Living by the Book by Howard G. Hendricks


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