Knowing God

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Many years ago I embarked on this Christian journey to know and obey God at all costs.  I studied Scriptures, conversed with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I also read several books by leading authors.  Specifically, “Knowing God” by J. I. Packer, and Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God (published in 1990)  by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King to find out more about Him. I was on a quest and the Holy Spirit led me to some of the best resources available.  I wanted to know Him and what He was like. I wanted a personal relationship with Him. I wanted to know what His plans were for my life. To find out I had to get to know Him, His characteristics, and His ways. I love these books because the gave me wisdom and understanding of a God I could not see with my natural eyes, yet I knew He existed.

Knowing God was written over 40 years ago and originally published in 1973. It has been reprinted several times and is one of the best Christian books of all time. It is the most significant book I’ve read. Much of the wisdom in J.I. Packer’s Knowing God has profoundly impacted me over the years.

The book is broken up into three Parts, each of which are then broken up into several chapters. The first of these Parts concerns itself with the knowledge about and knowledge of God. In Part II the author describes some of the most central attributes of God (e.g. “The Love of God,” “God the Judge,” “The Grace of God,” etc.). In Part III he moves in and gives what could probably be summed up as answers to different aspects of this question: “What does all this mean for one who calls herself a Christian?”

In what may be the most widely known quotation from this book, he confronts the idea that theology is only for the minister or the “theologian”:

Knowing about God is crucially important for the living of our lives. As it would be cruel to an Amazonian tribesmen to fly him to London, put him down without explanation in Trafalgar Square and leave him, as one who knew nothing of English or England, to fend for himself, so we are cruel to ourselves if we try to live in this world without knowing about the God whose world it is and who runs it. The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfold, as it were, with no sense of direction, and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul. [1]

I believe many people think about God in the abstract sense, yet have not truly embraced Him as a part of their daily lives. We know of Him, but don’t really know Him.  I can know all about you–where you live, what you do for a living, what music you like, what’s your favorite food, having never met you. But to know you I have to spend time with you. It’s the same with God. To know Him and what He requires of us we must spend time with Him. Spend time in His Word, in prayer, In fellowship and in worship of Him. We must not be ignorant of Him and His ways, and how He desires to be worshipped. I believe this is why the church is still weak today. Our minds must be renewed from the spirit of the world to make an positive impact on the world. We must not be preoccupied with religious practices that gives us a semblance of God, but deny His power to bring about change (2 Tim 3:5-7).

The Apostle Paul’s aim was to know Christ above all else. He said: “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil 3:8-11).

Knowing and pursuing God is the best. My soul follows hard after Him. There are hills and valleys. Highs and lows, yet His love is better than life. His righteous right hand upholds me daily. I think of Him day and knight (Psa 63). He is a father to the fatherless, a defender of widows. He sets the lonely in families and leads the prisoners with singing. (Psa 68:5-10).

The men and women God used throughout history had different backgrounds and cultures, but He gave them a passion to know Him and to walk with Him. If you are comfortable and complacent in your relationship with God, I encourage you to come into a fresh relationship with the Savior.

I could not have anticipated what God was planning to do through my pursuit of getting to know him.  He tells us he will do exceedingly, abundantly all that we  can imagine of think.  And he has done and continues to do just that.

May God arise!

Dr. Francine

Endnotes

1. Packer, J.I., Knowing God, Inter-Varsity Press, originally published: 1973

Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise notes.

 

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