It’s easy in these modern times to know a lot about a person without actually knowing them.
Scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, this truth stood out starkly.
I noted the many people I had only a surface level acquaintance with.
Often, I knew where they went on their last vacation, what sports their kids played, where they worked, etc.- but that’s not the same the thing as really knowing them.
To really know someone, you have to go beyond the intellectual/informational level and connect, volitionally and emotionally, as well.
To me, this means there is a merging of experiences, an intentional, two-way movement towards each other, an understanding of their mannerisms and quirks, their vulnerabilities and motivations- and to love them, flaws and all.
Technology and mobility have made our imperfect human efforts at knowing each other, in this deeper way, ever more rare, leaving a yearning that people struggle to fill. We want to know and be known. This is how God made us.
The gospel is the solution.
“There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man, which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.” –Blaise Pascal
The very essence of the gospel is about a personal knowing of God.
How do we know God?
“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” –John 15:6-10 (ESV)
God already knows you.
He knows your innermost thoughts, your struggles, your desires, and he loves you, flaws and all. Jesus, coming to this world in human flesh, living a sinless life, dying on the cross, resurrected to life, making a way for us to come to the Father, is all about God wanting you to know him in a personal way.
When the reality of the cross stops being only something you know, intellectually, and moves to a volitional, emotional level, this is how you start knowing God. There is an intentional movement and a change in behavior. Also, knowing God means loving God.
The Truth about the Gospel and Knowing the Father
Knowing the Father starts with an intellectual knowledge- and we get that from the Bible. You can’t have a personal relationship without informational knowledge.
I love this quote from a sermon titled, Knowing the Father, by Tim Keller,
“You can know the Bible without God but you can’t know God without the Bible.” –Tim Keller
Our example on how to know the Father comes through Jesus. He didn’t just know about us, he moved towards us. His actions spoke of his love. If we want to know the Father, to have a personal relationship, not just a knowing about him, we can move towards him through prayer and by doing what he asks of us.
I want to be careful to distinguish that the Father’s love for you is not dependent upon your doing. He already loved you before you did anything for him, while you were yet a sinner. (Rom. 5:8) Your doing of what God asks of you is simply a fruit of what is happening on the inside, an outpouring of your emotions and your love for him.
Knowing the Father is more important than anything else.
Everything else flows from it.
Notice the great prayers in the Bible.
They’re all asking for a personal knowledge of God.
This is what I want more of.
I want the same for you.
I will close with a prayer by Paul, from Ephesians, as it is my prayer, too, for all of us,
“For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:15-23 (ESV)
About the Author:
Dawn is a writer and Christian blogger who loves encouraging women to keep their focus on Jesus. She’s the author of Look to Jesus: How to Let Go of Worry and Trust God. She’s a wife and mom to two teens. A Seattle girl, she loves books and coffee. You can find her at Above the Waves. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter.