I thought I knew Him.
However, if I am completely honest, I really don't. He's so much different than I imagined.
That's right. I'm confessing to you that I don't know God. Not really. Not deeply. Not in the way my heart craves.
I'm not saying I've never met Him or that I'm not saved. I'm saying that what I imagined I knew of God was thin and pale compared to what I found out is available. I have found out that knowing God is a process that happens by degrees. It's a journey that takes an eternity. Most often when we believe we've come to know Him, it's an indicator of our lack, not our attainment.
After years of ministry, I had grown comfortable in my relationship with God. I preached without preparing, counseled without consulting Him, and taught without talking to Him. In my mind, those were signs of spiritual maturity—signs that I was ultimately familiar with God.
I now recognize those as the warning signs of an unhealthy ministry and traits of a heart that is distant from God. I thought I was intimate with Him like a close friend, one you're so aware of that you perceive what they feel even before they speak.
To my shock, and by His mercy, this One I thought I knew threw back the curtain to reveal Himself to me, and as my eyes focused, before me stood a stranger. He was completely different than what I imagined, as different as a dream is from reality.
I knew I was saved, and I loved the Lord, but it was evident I didn't truly know Him. My heart craved to know Him more deeply, and I was compelled to begin a journey into the knowledge of God that continues to this day.
Ask yourself, "Do I really know God?" Let the question rest on your mind for a moment. Let it penetrate your heart. Most believers' knee-jerk response is, "Of course I know the Lord. I'm saved, so therefore I know Him." It's unfortunate that the phrase "knowing God" has become synonymous with being saved.
Consider how long it takes to really get to know someone—a week, a month, a year, ten years? What about someone who is infinite, uncreated, without beginning or end? I guarantee it takes far more time to get to know God than it takes to know the average person. It's actually incredibly presumptuous for us to believe we know God simply because we've been introduced to Him.
Salvation is our introduction, but it's not the same as getting to know Him at a deep level. Many believers, having been introduced to the Lord through salvation, busy themselves by doing works of ministry. They never invest time to get to know God deeply. They live on the sermons their pastor preaches, hardly ever pursuing God for themselves. I'm convinced that many who are saved and doing good works for God don't really know Him. They were introduced to God but never progressed beyond that introduction.
If this hits home with you, don't worry. You're not alone. Coming to know the Lord takes time. The knowledge of God is not something you can get on the run. It requires a reordering of our priorities to make time for Him.
Only through turning aside to see God and hear God can we truly come to know Him. Perhaps the tyranny of the urgent has stolen the simplicity of devotion God desires and we require. Press pause, unplug and disconnect from the world so you can drink deeply of His nature. He is our portion and our reward!
As the 17th-century Carmelite monk Brother Lawrence said in his famous little book, The Practice of the Presence of God, "In order to know God we must often think of Him; and when we come to love Him, we shall then also think of Him often, for our heart will be with our treasure."
What an incredible privilege it is to come to know the eternal God! I wonder how often we have busied ourselves with the immediate and missed out on the eternal.
We can't afford to live at a distance any longer! If your heart is longing for a greater knowledge of God, you're not alone, and you didn't come to this place on your own.
All over the earth God is stirring the hearts of His children to seek Him in a fresh way. But it will take time and focus.
Ask God how you can reorganize your schedule to make room to know Him. Many things on which we've placed great importance are actually nonessentials that steal time and attention from the One our hearts long to know. Ask the Lord to show you. He will meet you with grace and revelation.
Adapted from To Know Him by Billy Humphrey, copyright 2013, published by Passio, Charisma Media, Charisma House Book Group. If you have ever asked, "Who is God?" this book is for you. It brings fresh revelation of God's heart to every area of your life, and stirs you toward your journey of knowing and experiencing Him in greater depth. To order your copy, click here.
Prayer Power for the Week of 3/9/2015
This week consciously schedule some time to spend with God for the purpose of getting to know Him from the Word. Seek some solitude to meditate, worship and reflect on who He is before you pray. Begin your prayer by thanking Him for all He is and has ordered in your life. Continue to pray that the gospel would spread around the world, that all men may glorify Him, and that the Lord would hasten His coming. Lift up our leaders and remember Israel, the persecuted church and the next generation (1 Thess. 5:18; Ps. 63; 1 Tim. 2:1-8).
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