KNOWING GOD is simple, but it’s not easy. Our goal is to present some basic relationship concepts, with various practical applications, so that every believer will be encouraged to stick with them until they experience personal results. God’s ways in different areas are intertwined; themes that are repeated from one area to the next are central to deepening our relationship with God.
We will first look at God’s desire for a relationship with us on a personal level, followed by a review and the practical application of the ways we can, as Believers, develop and enjoy an intimate relationship with our Father, Brother and Counselor. His Coming 2000 years ago was to remove every obstacle to our being able to enter into that relationship, and every movement and revelation since has led each of us to this day, our opportunity to Know God, on His terms and in His time. Our expectations, beliefs and even how we spend our time will all be challenged as we follow on to Know Him, but hearing His heartbeat, seeing Him face to face, now, is worth every effort and struggle He challenges us with.
What is Knowing God?
Knowing God is being in an intimate relationship with Him in all aspects of our being, spirit, soul and body. As Believers, we already enjoy this relationship with God in our spirit. But in our soul (mind, will and emotions) and body we are still in the process of getting to know Him as He is. So though we already possess all the eternal life we ever will, this great salvation of relationship has not yet been worked out through our soul and body. As we accept the responsibility to join God in relationship, valuing Him and appreciating everything that He is, He changes us into His image, according to His unique plans for us.
To know God we need an open mind, heart, and will. We also need a “need.” If we think we have all the answers, or are not open to having our beliefs challenged or changed, we have a closed-door to God in that area, regardless of how hard He may be knocking. What is from God will stand scrutiny, questioning and challenge; He wants us to challenge and test what we think we know. Does what you believe WORK? Is it setting you FREE? Are you experiencing HEALING and greater dependence and RELATIONSHIP with God? Since none of us has all the truth, there must be room for learning and changing for everyone.
What Knowing God is Not
Knowing God cannot necessarily be measured by what we’ve been taught by others. Much of what we’ve learned has just been passed along, never having been tried or tested on a personal or practical level. We can know all about a subject or person and never have experienced that subject or truly known that person at all. Even when a person passes along their experiences, because you are unique and God seeks a unique experience with you, sharing in another’s relationship with God is no substitute for developing your own relationship. God is jealous over each of us and will go to amazing lengths to get our individual attention and affection.
Much of what is taught from those in ministry positions is a consolidation of what they have learned or what has been researched and constructed in a professional and well-presented manner. There is no guarantee that just because someone has gone to seminary or is accepted and credentialed by an organization or group that what they are teaching is Truth. It is each Believer’s responsibility to learn to hear the voice of the Lord for themselves, to learn how to learn from the Lord directly, so that every Believer is able to differentiate between what may be true, and something that is Living Truth.
God Wants Us to Know Him
God is often misunderstood because we don’t know and understand why and how He does things. So we are unable to clearly hear His voice, understand His direction, or respond appropriately. Helping us to know and understand Him is high on His list, which should make it high on ours as well.
Everything God has done historically has been in movement TOWARD a relationship with us. Since this is all His idea, there is a guarantee of success. He does not start things He hasn’t already completed in His Spirit reality. If you have ANY desire to know the Lord at all, you can be confident that it is from the Lord, and He will follow up with you, regardless of your lack of understanding, knowledge, past history, woundedness or flesh. God wants to know US—and He gets what He wants!
You Already Want to Know God
Who we truly are, as spirit beings, already completely knows Him and is receiving His Life, living His eternal Life now. But our soul and body do not yet know Him on that same level. This is the separation that we are experiencing here on this earth—that in our soul and body we are still trying to get life, our needs met, on our own, through our own efforts and by our own strength. As we respond to God’s drawing, as we experience our need to know Him, God will bring to light those things that need to be healed, and those areas where we need to overcome. As our soul and body experience freedom and life, they are joined to our spirit which is already one with God. So we become one in Him, and know Him, and experience His eternal Life. Though it may at times seem like our soul and body are resisting His intervention in our lives, we can rest assured that who we truly are, our spirit being, DOES want to know God in His fullness, and will not rest until that goal is fulfilled.
How Do We Know God?
We start by asking Him to reveal Himself, acknowledging that He fully enabled us to know Him when He gave us a new heart at the Resurrection. So we already have the capability to know and understand, we just fail to put in the time and attention that any valuable endeavor deserves.
Growing in God?
As we follow on to know Him, we will increase in our awareness of His presence, involvement, and His character in our lives. In our spirits, who we truly are, we are already as mature as we are ever going to get. And our true soulical condition is not growing either, but becoming free from all masks and hindrances to exist as it was created by God to be. Our body, as well, though it is growing older, is not “maturing.” So do we get “closer” to God? Are there “levels” of “saintliness”? In Him, if we ARE in Him, there is no “shadow of turning,” no change, no growth. What DOES change in us is only the appearance of God Himself to and through us. We are not really growing, or reaching the “next level.” But our experience of knowing God personally brings us more and more into dependence on Him, where He is more and more clearly and easily revealed to and through us. So though it may appear we are “growing” in Him, it is simply that He is increasingly apparent, and in comparison, that which we are, even that which was created by Him and is pleasing to Him, pales in His brightness.
Can We Understand God?
God not only wants to be known, He wants to be understood. The more we experience His Eternal Life, Knowing Him, we begin to get on the same wavelength with Him. His character begins to overwhelm us, and we begin to be passionate and focused on the things that He is passionate and focused on. As we grow in our dependence on Him, we become activated by Him. As our soul and body align with our spirit, His River of Life flows through us unhindered; our behavior begins to line up with our identity. So not only do we experience freedom, healing and dependence in our own being, but we become available and engaged, enthusiastic and sacrificing, to bring His life to those in need according to His plan. So as knowing God is developing that personal relationship with Him on all levels, Knowing His Ways, understanding Him is sharing His goals, desires, and activities here on this earth: Doing His Acts.
Knowing God is a Process
As we commit to His plan for relationship, and begin to give Him the time and attention He deserves, we will be faced with many challenges. We will come up against our three primary enemies: the world, our flesh and the devil. [This topic is covered under “Becoming Whole—Spirit, Soul and Body”] We have simply taken the first step of a unique, lifelong journey. You have not passed this way before, nor has anyone else. The path God has for you is for you alone! Though you can learn from others’ experiences, and it is advisable to do so, your teacher, counselor, guide and encourager is Jesus Himself. So give yourself time—be patient with yourself. You’re exactly where God wants you to be, and He will not let you miss out on anything He has for you. His desire is for you to know Him, and He ALWAYS gets what He wants.
Adapted from Knowing God by Dianne Thomas