My heart is very full these days of the topic I am currently writing about — knowing God. The longer I know my Lord, know other Christians, and observe the way this world goes, the more certain I am that knowing God is the key to everything. It is His plan to heal, Father, and teach His children; it is how his Kingdom will be established. Knowing God is the highest joy we have on earth, and the means by which every Bible promise is fulfilled. It is the only way to ensure we end up with abundant life instead of lifeless religion.
I have tasted the Lord in wondrous, flawed, challenging and satisfying ways since He won my heart in 1979. Experiencing His goodness in daily life IS my joy, my strength, my rest, my wisdom, my hope and my inspiration to keep trying when I fail. I could never come up with those things on my own; they come with HIM. Jesus said it like this in John 17:3: “This is eternal life: knowing the Father.” Neither he nor the other New Testament writers ever spoke of this life beginning only after death. Eternal life begins for the believer the moment he or she joins to the Lord.
Everything that we could pack into a definition of abundant and eternal life — satisfaction of heart, nourishing relationship, the wisdom and power to fulfill our potential — flows out of knowing God. Everything written beyond the Gospels reveals that we were not given faith to just believe IN God, we were given faith in order to live our lives as a response to His very presence — Emmanuel, God with us. Faith is required if we are to enjoy the rest Jesus told us to seek in Him. Faith is necessary to hear personal words of comfort from the Father of all comfort in our grief. Faith is essential if we are to co-labor with the Father as Jesus did, believing that we can know what the Father is doing and do it with him. Faith is absolutely necessary to approach God in true childlikeness, believing it really is His pleasure to give the kingdom to his children, that we are really accepted by Him. The purpose of faith is believing that our constant companion, the Holy Spirit, is directing our hearts and revealing God’s thoughts to us as often as we turn our attention to Him. Millions believe in God and in His son, and are taught all about God; too few actually extend that faith to getting to know the God who lives right in them.
The book I am writing will explain how our salvation is actually a covenant that calls us to know God and promises he will make that possible. I will also weave together stories of my experiences of knowing God with the Scriptures which first gave me hope in such a life. The Bible consistently validates that this life is both a privilege and a calling from God. In fact, to “live worthy of the calling” means we must act upon what God is truly offering, not shrink back in fear. The Biblical writers assure us that God delights in the one who comes boldly, who seeks to know and taste of God; and is not pleased with the one who is timid, fearful or otherwise makes excuses about it all being too hard.
Certainly there is a tension to be maintained in knowing God, between the reverence due our Creator King, and the childlike intimacy the Father invites us to enjoy. My personal experience is that ultimately I walk with God more fruitfully and even more reverently when I presume upon the invitation to intimacy. How can that be? I think that is due to the fact that only in truly tasting of God — experiencing his invisible but very real presence — will your love, reverence and passion to obey naturally increase, in a way that you own it, you don’t have to be forced or talked into it. Instead of a command you must make yourself do, true fear and worship of the Lord comes naturally. To know Him is to love Him. Certainly we honor God when we worship him as an act of determination and devotion, yet the kind of worshippers the Father values the most are those who worship in spirit and in truth, as a genuine and irrepressible response to what they have seen and know. Thus the exhortation, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Every day I encounter people who shrink back from knowing God out of fear that they are unworthy, not good enough, not surrendered enough; who believe they must achieve a certain level of maturity before hoping that God will walk and talk with them. Yet I find quite the opposite to be true: as I relax into hanging out with God as I would a friend, brother and father, I find myself becoming more of what I am called to be. I am taught. I learn right timing, when I otherwise may not understand whether it is a time to embrace, or to refrain from embracing.
It is the relationship that brings us to maturity, not the other way around. I’m on a mission to convince people of this, to come against the lie which the devil has fostered, that believers have to earn God’s favor, his voice, his presence, before they can know God in such ways this side of heaven. Yes, there are requirements, and He has made sure we can meet them all, through His grace, His Spirit, His goodness.
This book will be entitled “They Will All Know Me,” and is to be book three of the ScribeLife Series the Lord has instructed me to write. (The first two books in the series are “Rooted & Established In Love” and our co-authored book “Can I Really Hear God?”) There will be three more books in the series following this one, including one on “Spirit Life” (how to walk with the Holy Spirit), and one on our Lord’s command to “love others as I have loved you.”
I covet your prayers for this work. I believe with all my heart that the world needs to learn these things. I write to join the chorus of voices out there who are singing the same tune, because so many people are still captive, still timid, and still reaching for satisfaction from the world because they don’t realize how very much God can truly satisfy them. I am not qualified to write of these things because I live it perfectly, but because I have tested what I teach in my own daily life for thirty years. I have come to know this amazing God who keeps leaping over all my flaws and weaknesses to love me with all His heart, and I want others to know Him as they can.
In fact, don’t wait for the book, just get on that right now. The Spirit will show you how; it’s His favorite thing!