The idea of knowing God is rather mysterious. Some may call it an aspiration of arrogance or a pursuit rooted in ignorance. For this reason, many people simply choose to focus on the material matters of life and ignore the matter of the soul.
Yet, the words of Augustine ring through centuries of time resonating a common experience for us all: “Thou hast made us for Thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.”
Could it be that the search impulses and restless wanderings—so apparent in the culture that surrounds us and within our own hearts—reflect a greater capacity within the whole of humanity to know and understand that life is more than mere existence?
Life isn’t just a pulse, heartbeat or brainwave activity. It is conscious awareness of something within us, something about us—a spiritual capacity—existing in a physical body that is more than the animations of the body alone.
We are dependent beings made to know God in order to understand purpose and meaning in life, as much as we are dependent upon water, air and sleep for physical life and health.
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote the following concerning our march through time: “…God has put eternity in our hearts” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Our very lives carry the brand of significance, the Imago Dei (made in the image of God).
We are image-bearers of a greater world called the eternal, and we are people who need to know the Creator in order to understand the intent of all of creation.
It is this matter that makes life matter.
That’s why French artist, mathematician and philosopher Blaise Paschal said, “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.”
The essential message of Holy Scripture from beginning to end declares that you and I were made by God and created to know God. We were not merely made for ourselves, but for God and His glory. Our greatest purposefulness and significance is derived through right alignment and relationship with Him.
If—just think about it—IF this is true, then nothing is more vain than every attempt to find life, live life and discover meaning in life apart from God who made you.
Could this explain so much of the brokenness, emptiness and hopelessness you may be experiencing in life? Are you separated and disconnected from God? No one can deny the gravity of weaknesses or the default toward selfishness and sins.
So how? How can you know a God you cannot see? How can you align yourself to be found acceptable in the sight of the One whose character and standards are surely not like your own?
Is the path to “knowing God” synonymous with the pursuit of wisdom, greater religious education, efforts to improve character, offering sacrifice, demonstrating generosity or simply trying harder to become better? No.
Self-improvement often leads to defeat and discouragement. Self-actualization only leads to the actual awareness that there is something inherently wrong within you that you cannot change, correct or reconstruct to make a better way or a happy ending.
You cannot build a “stairway to heaven” or discover God even through your most sincere search.
How can you know God? You can only know God through His initiative and expression of amazing grace toward us.
The God who made you to know Him actually knows you, and everything about you. Yet despite the failures and short-comings that exist, He intervenes and acts to rescue you from your chosen ignorance and independence.
The pages of Scripture are not filled with moral platitudes telling you how you can become a better person. God did not provide a system for you to remedy your sins, He provided a Redeemer—One who would accomplish the recovery of the human soul from the very power and penalty of sin that dominates and destroys you. God provided reconciliation with Himself for you.
God’s gracious intervention and final revelation of Himself was made known in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
Jesus, Messiah, Son of God, came into the world of His own creation that you through Him might know and experience God. Read this brief text: John 1:1-5; 9-14.
How can you know God? By looking to Jesus and receiving the light and life He gives to all who believe on His name.
How can you know God? By recognizing your willful independence and personal disobedience toward God and His purpose for your life.
The Bible calls this recognition and admission of your sin, repentance. It involves a turning from your chosen pursuits of darkness, acknowledging your disobedience and looking to Jesus.
How can you know God? By receiving His Son, your Savior, Jesus Christ and experiencing forgiveness, life and acceptance before God. It is all a work of grace (God’s Riches At Christ Expense) for you.
This says it so well: “In the New Testament, grace means God's love in action toward people who merited the opposite of love. Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to the cross to descend into hell so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven.” ― J.I. Packer, Knowing God
Knowing God means believing (trusting) in the name of Jesus and receiving the gift of life abundant and eternal, promised to all who believe on His name.
Do you know God?