I bet it would have been easier asking, Do you love God? for I would be getting a Yes. Yes, of course, I do. Who wouldn’t like to admit that he does love him? Yet, the lips isn’t the final yardstick to measure if we do or not. To say you know God isn’t pride: it’s a fact you find out in your work with Jesus.
However, what does it mean to know him? Here are three things people think knowing God is about, but they in themselves aren’t what it is to know him. When we see people who express these, we often conclude they know him.
- Each morning, I pick up my bible and read for an hour or two. Then I pray for thirty minutes before heading to work. I feel I know him.
While I can’t say that this is wrong (for I do it as well), it’s not what it is to know God—it’s just what you need to step on to know him. Yet, it’s possible to step on this without having any contact with Father that brings a transformation in your life, or draws your heart to see his love. The Bible is just a stepping stone to knowing him. If what we read in there isn’t being displayed in our lives to bless the world, we have only come to know about him, but we haven’t come to know him.
- My father’s best friend is so good in preaching and teaching of the Word. He speaks in tongues; casts out demons from people; performs miracles; heals many people. He has this zeal for the things of God. This man so knows God than I have ever imagined.
This is so interesting!
But this isn’t what knowing God is about. . . What?!
One thing is all this are just gifts and they aren’t what tells that we know him. It’s possible to do all of that and still end up being so miserable that we hunger to find Jesus to fill our heart with his love. When you get to know why it was so easy to say that Jesus knew God, or that the people at Antioch could conclude that the Apostles knew God, you’ll finally come to give up judging how well people know him through that.
- Alfred Hinn, a fellow Theologian, usually doled out clothes, money and shoes to people. Mother once said, Alfred knows God, Bob. He spreads relief to everyone. Yet, he’s a fellow who does this hoping people would do likewise to him.
While it’s possible that people who know God do show this generous works, it’s not to be easily or completely used to judge if someone knows him or not. Obviously, individuals and corporate groups as well who have no affection for God do these things too. Even Paul wrote,
And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor. . . but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
—I Corinthians 13:3, NASB.
Therefore, these three good deeds doesn’t tell that we know him: but love when it becomes the foundation does bless the world with these.
SO IF KNOWING GOD ISN’T DETERMINED BY THESE, WHAT DOES IT REALLY MEAN TO KNOW HIM?
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
—I John 4:7—NASB.
From the above verse, we see, Everyone who loves knows God. Isn’t that amazing that we know those who know him by how much they love others? Why? Do I mean to know I have to love others? Loving others is just the fruit of loving him. Love for him produces love for others and that tells that we have been with him. Love doesn’t begin with our affection for others, but realizing the affection Father has for us. Then we learn to love him as well; and in the process, we find ourselves loving others—not conditionally but unconditionally. Unconditional love tells who knows Father and who doesn’t.
And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
—I John 4:21,KJV.
Its impossible to love others unconditionally if it doesn’t originate from loving God first after realizing that he first loved us. Of course, there are heathen men who do good deeds too, but there’s a difference.
Jesus talked about it several times:
- People who really walk in love (who know him) do love their neighbors and their enemies as well. Whatever act of charity they do toward their neighbor is what they do toward their enemies.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. . . —Matthew 5:43-44, KJV.
God does likewise—
. . . for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. —vs 45.
- Those who walk in love don’t live to earn men’s praise. They don’t do good to get a reward. They don’t love because someone loved them back: loving someone who loves you back is not love. It’s selfishness! You ain’t really loving, but giving because others love you. They don’t have a heart to hate. They would rather not do anything than do anything outside of love.
RECALLING THE THREE
Remember the three expressions people use to judge if a person knows God?
- Praying; having quiet time.
- Preaching, teaching from the Scriptures.
- Acts of generosity.
Love does all three and even more, but it’s possible that these three be done for personal aggrandizement, selfishness, or self righteousness. The first could be done as a routine.
Knowing God isn’t theorical, but practical, for love isn’t just in words but in deeds as well.
Remember, it begins with loving God before it gets to loving others. If you love in spite of what goes on in this world, you know God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. —I John 4:8, KJV.
- Did you get any new insight as you were reading this, do share it in the comment box.