“Oh, this thing of keeping in constant touch with God, of making Him the object of my thoughts and the companion of my conversations, is the most amazing thing I ever ran across. Now I like the Lord’s presence so much that when for a half hour or so He slips out of my mind — as He does many times a day — I feel as thought I had deserted Him, and as though I had lost something very precious in my life.”
I stumbled across this quote today and began to feel this cavernous space in my soul open up as I was suddenly made aware of how incompletely I know God and the fullness of His presence. I have fooled myself into believing that I am quite content with where God has me…content with how I choose to spend my time…content with the knowledge I have of God…content with how I am serving God and others…content…. When the truth is the thought of going deeper with God scares me tremendously. It has not been worth the extra miles of walking barefoot on rocky ground to experience even greater depths of joy and fulfillment with my Savior. I don’t want to risk the trials, pain, or brokenness in order to experience deeper fullness in the presence of God. It is more convenient for me to try to control what lies ahead so as to avoid any surprises or hardship than it is to allow God to reveal the depth of His character and plan for my life to me, because that may prove to be all too great for my weak faith to bear.
But then the Spirit’s gentle whisper reminded me of why everything in my being ought to fervently long to know God.
“Child, you are known.”
I was brought to tears as the full weight of that truth began to spread itself out into every corner of my heart. I AM KNOWN BY GOD. God knows me as a friend, as one who loves me deeply even though He sees the fullness of my corruption. There is never a moment when His attention is distracted from me or His gaze is off me. His care for me never falters. This is unfathomable knowledge.
All my knowledge of Him relies upon and is motivated by His initiative in first knowing me, and this knowledge is expressed through loving, choosing, redeeming, calling, upholding….me. And I am undone.
But, as I push myself to continue on this journey of becoming complete in Christ, of overcoming the “undoneness” I now face, I must allow God’s knowledge of me to penetrate my whole being and inspire me to KNOW HIM. I want it to be so clearly evident in my life that I know God. I yearn for my knowledge of God to be marked by grand thoughts of His work and character, zealousness to accomplish His will, boldness to proclaim His love and salvation, and deep delight in His presence.
I began reading through Scripture to put meat on the bones of what it means to “know God.”
“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John 17:3
“But let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24
“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and may share in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death.” Philippians 3:10
After reading through these and many other passages, several things stuck out to me:
– Knowing God involves listening to His Word and receiving it as His Spirit makes it alive in my heart.
– Knowing God is recognizing His nature and character as His Word reveals it, and as His work in my life and in the lives of those around me demonstrates it.
– Knowing God is willingly and joyfully delighting in what God has called me to do…and doing it wholeheartedly.
– Knowing God is humbly living under the great love that He has poured out on me and allowing that love to motivate me to draw into deep fellowship with Him.
I don’t have to live in fear of the journey that will come from truly desiring to know God. That spirit of fear is not of God, and His perfect love has the power to cast out that fear. So, with my whole heart I cry out, “God, I want to know you even as I am fully known!” And I know I won’t regret it.