Reflections on 2012–You Either Know God or You Don’t
I often find different themes running throughout my spiritual life, sometimes through a word or phrase, recurring dreams or conversations with other believers. In the latter part of 2012, I found myself often thinking, “You either know God or you don’t”–not to anyone else, but to myself. I either know God or I don’t. So much energy can be expended reading, reflecting, talking, serving and doing any number of things centered on one’s faith. But at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding–You either know God or you don’t. You either hear His voice or you don’t. He either claims you as His own or He doesn’t. And as Jesus warned us, there will be many who will point to all the spiritual things they had done to prove that they knew Him, and He will deny ever having known them at all. (Matt. 7:22-23) A troubling thought. The Lord is a living Person, more real than anything we can physically see or touch–for it is only in Him that we and all that is around us exists. (Acts 17:28) In all our religious doings, if we do not manage to connect to this Person in an active and dynamic way, we’re going to miss the point. When I speak of connecting with Him, I’m not necessarily speaking of spiritual or mystical experiences; those are special favors granted by the Lord and are more like icing on the cake rather than the cake itself. Rather, I’m speaking of knowing Him and being in fellowship with Him, of loving Him with heart, mind, soul and strength.
Christ provided a perfect example of what it looks like to love God and thus to remain in fellowship with Him. It was through His perfect obedience unto death that He remained in unity with the Father. Never boasting of Himself or of His power, one thing He did say of Himself is that “He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” John 8:29 ESV The Father remained with Jesus and Jesus remained in the Father through submission to the Father’s will. This is how we grow in God, how we come to know Him in truth–through obeying His word. As Christ also said, “Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21 What an amazing promise and invitation!
So, with my spirit having pondered what it truly means to know God in 2012, and desirous to enter more deeply into the life of God, I thought it fitting to focus on the commands of Christ in 2013. There are hundreds of commands throughout the New Testament, but one ministry takes all of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels and identifies 50 commands of Christ. A reflection on one of those commands every week will lead right up to 2014. And I am confident that the Lord will be faithful and good this year to produce good fruit from those reflections and make good on His promise, drawing near to those who draw near to Him.
Let us draw near to Him–check back on Sundays for a reflection on His commands. Blessings!