“Not many of us, I think, would ever naturally say that we have known God. The words imply a definiteness and matter-of-factness of experience to which most of us, if we are honest, have to admit that we are still strangers… [W]ith most of us experience of God has never become so vivid as that.”
~ Knowing God, J.I. Packer ~
Something that God has been faithfully working in Brett and me over the past few months is the desire to press in and know Him more deeply—not just know about Him, not just talk about Him, but actually know Him.
Recently I’ve been reading Knowing God by J.I. Packer, which was recommended to us by Lindsey Wagstaffe from Beauty from the Heart and from which the quote above was taken. Few books have spoken so directly to my heart.
To be honest, I find myself in the majority category that Packer describes. I cannot say that I have truly known my God. For me experience of God has never become quite as earth-shaking and soul-shattering as that.
There are those, even in my local church, whose lives testify that they know God. They have a visible joy and a passion I do not possess, and I want it, so, so much.
Fixing a Faulty View of God
This weekend, after arriving home from the first of a handful of trips to meet with publishers, Brett and I took a short spiritual retreat with two brothers in Christ. My secret hope was that God would take advantage of the time I was setting aside for Him, fill me with the Spirit, and change my life forever, all in 24 hours.
That didn’t happen. God had better plans.
God quickly convicted me that I was viewing Him more as a divine vending machine to be manipulated, rather than as a real, personal God—a relationship to guard and invest in. I cringed as I asked the question: “If I approached other relationships the way I do my relationship with God, would I expect them to grow?”
As Christians—as rebelutionaries—we must never be content with simply having a relationship with our Savior. Is it growing? Do we delight to talk to Him? Do we hunger to read His Word? There is nothing more important.
Persevere, Persevere, Persevere
But perhaps, like me, you already know this. You know you’re supposed to delight in God, but you don’t feel it. For you it’s not that real, even though you want it to be. Perhaps, like me, you’ve asked God to give you that delight, and you still don’t feel it. I want to encourage you, right there with you, persevere. Ask, seek, knock.
As Packer reminds us, “[God] teaches the believer to value His promised gifts by making him wait for them, and compelling him to pray persistently for them, before He bestows them.” This truth has become my theme for the months ahead.
Do I value the promised gift of sweeter communion with my Savior? Then let me demonstrate it by seeking after Him with my whole heart, through constant prayer and meditation on His Word. It will be hard, but it will be good. And someday I’ll be able to say, without a moment’s hesitation, that I have known my God.
“We must learn to measure ourselves, not by our knowledge about God, not by our gifts and responsibilities in the church, but by how we pray and what goes on in our hearts. Many of us, I suspect, have no idea how impoverished we are on this level. Let us ask the Lord to show us.
“Second, we must seek the Savior… It is [those] who have sought the Lord Jesus till they have found Him—for the promise is that when we seek Him with all our hearts, we shall surely find Him—who can stand before the world to testify that they have known God.”
~ Knowing God, J.I. Packer ~