Knowing and Loving God
Have you experienced God’s love closely like I did in Haiti (as shared in the last two week’s faith posts)? Have you discovered that in your hard times, God reveals a piece of His character intimately with you in order that you may know Him more?
As I shared in our weekly email, the word, know, has been coming up a lot in my studies through 2 Peter and 1 John. Many of us read that word and carry on with the basic understanding we have of it. Yet in Scripture, there are moments where the word know carries a much deeper meaning.
To know God in Scripture is talking about an intellectual and experientially kind of understanding. It’s going beyond the head knowledge and penetrating the heart by experiencing the Lord. It’s applying what has been to what is. It’s revealing that God is still alive and true, that His word is legitimate, and that Holy Spirit is on the move in our lives. He’s revealing that the work He did in Biblical times is still taking place. The greatest thing He is revealing through this experiential knowledge, is the deeper understanding and relationship we can have with Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
Knowing Jesus on a deeper level means that we love Him more. If we’re followers of Jesus, we live in Him, and He in us. “The one who keeps His commands remains in Him, and He in him” 1 John 3:24a.
How do we know this?
“And the way we know that He remains in us is from the Spirit He has given us.” 1 John 3:24b.
As we study the Bible and gain intellectual knowledge of Him, the Spirit helps us to experience Jesus as well. To grow in a cycle of love and understanding, deeper understanding and then more love.
He encourages us in our walk of faith with Him to be confident in who He’s created us to be. The more we embrace our identity in Him, the less room the enemy has to lead us astray.
Priscilla Shirer shared in a Bible study of a story that she once read. The man explained that he was almost a perfect bowler. He would score around 300 points in a game. “That’s nearly impossible” she thought to herself. As she continued to read, he confessed that he was only about ten inches from the pins. As he moved back to the regulation lines, he proved that he was a terrible bowler. Why would he do that? He explained that if we are close to God, there is a lot less room for error in our lives. But the further we move out from that closeness with Him, the more room we leave for error, and for the enemy to do greater destruction in us.
This is why knowing God in a loving, intellectual, and experiential level is so important. If we love Him and truly want to serve Him well, as He deserves, it is important for us to “guard our hearts” by His truth. To spend time with Him, in order to recognize His voice over the enemy’s.
So, as the Spirit works within us to experience the love and power of Jesus, we move closer to Him, desiring to do what is right as Jesus did. We resist temptations more often and gain confidence in who we are.
“If you know that He is righteous, you know this as well: Everyone who does what is right has been born of Him. Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children. And we are! … We know that when He appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as He is pure” – 1 John 2:29-3:1-3
Next week we’ll discover the confidence we can have in our Loving God as we continue to deepen our relationship with Him.