First Thoughts

Knowing God More!

We used to sing the following words of a worship song written by Steve Green many years ago:

Oh, I want to know you more

Deep within my soul, I want to know you

Oh, I want to know you…

During the heyday of the worship renewal movement, words like this seemed fresh and intimate when they arrived on the scene. They described a deep desire that lay beneath the surface of one’s life. But for those paying close attention, this type of language demonstrated a depth of desire that could easily be neglected, if not a complete lie. It is discouraging to be capable of singing such wonderful sentiments with our mouths that are not true of our heart’s actual desire.

The Bible indicates there are two types of knowledge of God. There is a head knowledge (James 2:19 – even the demons believe the facts) and a heart relationship (Philippians 3:10–“that I may know him and the power of his resurrection”). This is the difference between knowing facts about him in your head and knowing him with your heart (having a relationship). You might have heard it said that it is the difference of 12” (the distance between your heart and your head). The second one is the one that leads to life.

It is possible to go through your entire adult life with just head knowledge of God while never really having a heart relationship with God (heart knowledge). This reality saddens me as I think about all the people that have sat in churches or attended Bible studies to collect information about God but never “knew” the One they were learning about.

Jesus prayed in the garden on the night that he was betrayed, that his children might know God and know the One he had sent—Christ himself! The word know speaks to an intimate relationship. It speaks to desire. Jesus said that this relational knowledge was the essence of eternal life (John 17:3). I am not aware of a single verse that says so much about the purpose of our lives in such a small space. The whole purpose of this life is to establish and pursue a relationship with the living God. That is the singular purpose of eternity and, therefore, the singular purpose of this brief, earthly life. So, everything I do ought to contribute to this ultimate priority.

What are you doing to know him more? Do you ache deep within your soul to know him more? Reading the Bible is critical, but that is a means to an end. The purpose of reading is to know the heart and mind of the Author. Praying is vital, but that is also a means to an end. The purpose of prayer is to develop a relationship with the Hearer and Answerer of our prayers. Attending church is critical, but again, that is a means to an end. One of the primary purposes of attending church is to gather with others who want to know him more, deep within our souls!

Seeking to know him more requires a determination to look beyond the words of our public and private worship life and see the God who provides those words. When we receive a letter from someone who loves us, we don’t cherish the letter because of its paper and ink. We don’t reflect upon the words because they form well-constructed sentences and a beautiful sentiment. We see the letter as an opportunity to delight in its sender. We look beyond the letter aching for its source. We want to be with him. That is how we begin to know him more.

Desire!

 


Scott Connell (Ph.D., The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Worship Pastor at First Baptist Church Jacksonville.

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