Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Knowing God...


Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23-24

Last Sunday night I preached at my church on this verse.  The main reason I preached on this verse was because it was the main thing that God taught me in my first semester at Northland.

Growing up in a Christian home I was always told that I was to make God first place.  Nothing else before Him…but how was I to do this?  Read my Bible?  Pray?  So, I read my bible.  I opened it and did my ritual reading…when I was done I would pray a short prayer, and I would go right on to doing what I needed to do that day, and completely forget what I had read.

Maybe I’m the only one who did this…but I’m pretty sure I’m not.  This was the extent of what I believed a good Christian was supposed to do.  So I did these things, and sure my relationship with God was “okay”…I thought it was better than most, so it must be okay.  But I was still struggling with a lot of things.  I had personal sins that were beating me into submission all the time.  I couldn’t understand why these sins were so hard for me to overcome…I was doing what I was supposed to do wasn’t I?  I was doing what any good Christian was supposed to do right?  Wrong…

It wasn’t until I went to Northland that I found out how a true deep abiding relationship with God is developed.  First semester Freshman have to go to morning devotions in the White Chapel every weekday morning.  The first week of devotions Dr. Olson (Northland’s President) and Doc “O” (Northland’s Chancellor) came in every morning to give us some help in how to develop good devotional habits.  One thing that Doc “O” talked about really hit home with me.  He talked about creating a “Biography of God.”  He talked about how cultivating a knowledge of God and His attributes is so important for developing a relationship with our Lord.  He said in order for us as Freshman to start out correctly, we needed to have a good solid knowledge of God to build our faith on.

This isn’t just a head knowledge…it’s a heart knowledge…

A. W. Tozer said, “Your view of God is the most important thing about you.”  The more I’ve taken the time to study my God, and take the truths about Him into my heart, the more I realize the truth of this statement.

Our view of God, whether good or bad, affects everything.  When we sin, we are essentially saying, “God, you’re not good enough for me.”  It’s so simple…in order to not sin we need to view God as being more important, more valuable than the sin…how do we do this?  We get to know our God, and who He is.

When we struggle with prayer…we could spend our time trying desperately to pray…but if we are not enraptured with God, and wrapped up in the truth that we can’t get through our day with out Him…how are we going to understand how important prayer is?

A lot of times, in our life, our view of God can be skewed by certain things we’ve gone through.  Cultivating a heart knowledge of God can recalibrate our view of God.

I know for me, I once viewed God as volatile, and not always there, because I have a father who wasn’t there for much of my childhood.  The most comforting attributes for me in order to recalibrate my view of God, were to understand His Love…the fact that He is our comforter…and most importantly that He is always the same.  He never changes…

So how can we do this?  I don’t want to leave you with this inspiring call to get to know God better in your heart, without giving you some practical instruction.  Here’s how I do it…study God word in small portions.  God reveals Himself to us through His word, but if we read large portions of God’s word, it can be hard to take these truths in, because it’s too much to take in at once.  Now, I do believe it is very important to study God’s word as a whole…such as reading through the bible in a year…but I have a quantitive, and a qualitive Bible reading time.  I have a time where I read through a few chapters in order to get through the bible in a year, but I also have that time where I go verse by verse, and break it down.  This is where I work to cultivate a heart knowledge of God.

Probably the best book to start with going verse by verse, trying to understand God better, is the book of Psalms.  Psalms is filled with attributes of God.  So how do I take a head knowledge of an attribute of God, and take it into my heart?  Here’s what I do…I journal…I write about how that attribute affects me.  For example, when thinking about God’s love, and his forgiveness He offers me…I picture myself as being like the prodigal son.  I’ve run to my Father, the Lord Jesus Christ, and I’ve fallen at His feet in shame, because I know I’m a sinner.  I picture Him lifting me up and holding me in His arms.  This internalizes the message…meditating on truths like this, I remember it through out my day…because it’s not just in my head…it’s in my heart.

Now don’t think that because I’ve written this that I have “arrived”…and that I have reached the peak of knowing God…certainly not.  God is so much bigger and greater, and more loving than we can ever comprehend.  We only but scratch the surface…but the point is to keep trying to get to know Him better.  I’ve still got a long way to go…and I hope I never come to the point where I think I know my God enough…no one is too big, or too “spiritual” to get to know God better.  We all need to get to know Him better. 

Think about Adam and Eve in the garden, before the fall.  They had a completely open and honest relationship with the Lord.  There was nothing between them and the Lord. That was how God intended for us to live before Him…are we there? No…will we ever me there?  Not until we’re in heaven with Him.  But we should always be striving on this earth to get as close to that as we can.  Now does that mean we should all take off our clothes and go into the woods to get closer to God?  I think we all know the answer to that question…we should all be seeking to be open and honest with our God.  Nothing between us and Him…figurative nakedness before Him. 

Now if I have people who are reading this, and they have no idea what I’m talking about.  You’re saying, “I don’t even know a thing about God!  No one has ever told me about Him.”  I want to help…Jesus died for you!  He came to earth and took upon Himself the punishment for our sin, and was nailed to the tree, taking the punishment we deserved.  He died, and rose again, and He wants to have a relationship with you!  If you want to know how to have a relationship with the Lord, please feel free to email me.  I’d love to help!  My email address is posted on the side of my blog.  Feel free to drop me an email!

But for you believers who are reading this…get to know your God better!

Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 9:23-24

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