As a Christian you say that we know God. This is an intimate relationship with God that affects your life. It’s not just factual information. Perhaps it is better to say that you are getting to know God – as you learn more of him as you develop your relationship with him.
But how do you know him? What does this really mean? Yes, you come to know God both through learning what the Bible says but if you really come to know God then you also have a spiritual encounter that is just the start of a lifetime relationship. God works by his Spirit helping you to understand how God want you to live out the Bible.
1. God reveals this knowledge to you
This relationship begins with God opening your spiritual eyes – he takes the initiative in revealing himself to you.
This is both an initial experience and continual as he keeps opening your eyes to more of his character and ‘to know the hope to which you are called’ (Ephesians 1:18).
As you get to know God more you realise how you’ve oversimplified him in the past.
You learn how he loves you and he answers your prayers.
He sometimes blesses you before you ask.
Then you learn that he doesn’t give you everything because sometimes it wouldn’t be good for you.
You then learn that sometimes you just cannot fathom his ways.
2. This knowledge of God inspires you to action
You may feel you know God well or you’re just beginning to get to know him. Whatever you feel you know of God then you will find that the Holy Spirit inspires you to act on what you are learning.
This begins with a change of attitude or repentance and then continues with continual adjustments as you seek to align your life with how you understand God wants you to live.
You become aware of your failings and your sin. You also become aware of his great forgiveness. You feel determined to change but also become aware of your weakness. You become aware of his grace and somehow sense that this empowers you and looking back you see that you are not the same as you were.
“No-one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No-one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him” (Luke 24:32). .
3. This knowledge is for you to apply to your life
You are not just to feel inspired and have good intentions – but you realise that you do need to actually change and keep on changing.
You know it is foolish not to apply knowledge. After all you learn things so that you know what to do. To gain knowledge and then not apply it is ridiculous. James 1:3 says “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror.”
Sometimes this call inspires you but on occasions it can overwhelm you. The Christian life is about living God’s way but don’t forget it is also about God’s grace and the joy in the Holy Spirit who empowers you to live like this.
4. This knowledge transforms you
The good news is that Jesus died for your sins and he has changed your very nature. You are not changing by your own self effort but God is transforming you by his Spirit to be more like Jesus in our character.
You are bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10) As you keep learning more of how God wants us to live and you do keep on changing. You add to your knowledge self control… perseverance… godliness… brotherly kindness… (2 Peter 1:5-7)
5. This knowledge provokes others
As you are transformed you become a provocation to others.
You are a role model. Sometimes you are a good role model sometimes a bad role model. Nevertheless you are a role model. As you seek to be more like Christ you may find yourself focusing on your short comings. You may even see how those are affecting others. But God has changed you.
As a follower of Jesus there is a lot in your actions that is having a positive affect on others. Sometimes some will react negatively to your faith. But often the affect will be positive – even if you don’t always see it.
Other Christians will follow your lead when they see your passion for prayer or how you stand up for what is right. Others including those outside of the church will be inspired when they see how your cope with difficult situations or how you so often have a kind word for people.
The Bible tells us that even the heavenly realms your influence is being felt – where forces that we barely understand are in operation both for good and evil.
6. This knowledge enables you to glorify God
Your knowledge of God will bring glory to God. God is fulfilling his purposes. He is at work in this world. He is making himself known to people (John 1:1-5 &18). As you learn about how he wants you to live and you do it, as you throw yourself into his purposes that people you see and understand and know more of God.
This is how you will know that you are getting to know God. People praise God because of you.