Have you ever met a celebrity? More often than not when we encounter a celebrity, professional athlete, or politician the report is, “They were a jerk.” Sometimes we hear, “They were so nice.” But how genuine was that interaction? The reason those interactions can be polarizing is because you know a great deal about them, but they don’t know anything about you. So the celebrity is either curt or fakes being nice when encountering you for the very first time. You know some facts about them, but you don’t actually know them. And they certainly don’t know you.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, Paul prays that the Ephesian church would come to know God. He prays specifically that God would give them a spirit of understanding and revelation about Himself. In the apostle’s mind it is not enough for the church to merely know accurate facts about the one, true God. They must come to KNOW HIM.
There is a big difference between knowing about God and knowing God. Just like there is big difference between knowing a person and knowing about a person. Describing what a friend looks like or detailing what their daily schedule is does not constitute a close friendship. What do they love? What do they hate? What pleases them? What is important to them? What bothers them? Where have they been in life? Where do they see themselves going?
Christians are famous for telling antagonists that Christianity is a “relationship” not a “religion.” Relationships only exist when two or more parties are deeply acquainted with each other. So the question must be asked: Do you know God? Of course we, of all people, must know the facts about God. He is eternal. He is perfectly righteous. He is Trinity. He is Creator. But what pleases Him? What does He hate? What does He love? What has He been doing throughout history? What is most important to Him?
The only way to find these things out to spend time with God in the manner in which He has chosen to speak i.e. the Bible. Any attempt we make to know God outside of His divine word is mysticism at worst and hearsay at best. Our God has spoken through His Spirit inspiring men to put it down with paper and ink for all time. Therein lays our path to knowing the Almighty God of Creation. Our job in this cosmic relationship is to study intently what God has to tell us.
Now here is a better question to ask ourselves: Do I even care about knowing God? The answer to this question will dictate the trajectory of your entire life. To quote from Dr. Bingham at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, “The most important thought you will ever think is what you think about when you think about God, because it will determine every dimension of your existence.” He is right.
So, if God were a celebrity, and you bumped into Him on the street, how would He react to you? Would He smile and speak with you as one with whom He is intimately acquainted? Or would He politely smile, pose for a picture, answer a few questions and then go about His day? Obviously this example is crass and limited. Much more is at stake than embarrassment or an awkward interaction. This is the trajectory of your life and the One who gave it to you.
Do you know God? I pray that God will give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation of Him and that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, the glory of His inheritance, and the surpassing greatness of His power toward those who believe (Eph 1:17-19).
How are you seeking to know God better today?