Luke 10:22 – “All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”
Philippians 3:10 – “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”
We who are Bible-believers stress the importance of Bible knowledge and Bible doctrine—as well we should. But I sense that we fear an experiential knowledge of God. The idea frightens us. We have heard the conversations of the charismatic at our workplace who hears God in dreams and voices. And we shudder to think that someone would consider us extreme in this matter.
As a result, we approach knowing God on an intellectual level only. To know God is to have a correct understanding of the doctrine of God. Perhaps it also means to know that we have truly trusted in God. But to expect God to be real to us on an experiential level? How presumptuous! How dangerous! Is it even allowed?
Even when we collide with scriptures which speak of this personal knowledge of God, we have the answers. Those were miraculous times with signs and wonders. The scriptures were not yet complete. And so on.
But I am not talking about being stuck down with a bright light and audibly hearing the voice of the Saviour giving directions. A completed Bible does not mean that we are forbidden to experience the presence of God in our lives. It does not keep us from knowing His guidance—whether by taking us to a verse, or sending one with the advice we need, or through a providential working of events. Neither does it mean that we cannot sense His glory or His love in a time of prayer.
Watchman Nee in What Shall This Man Do? (p.105) states, “It is first-hand knowledge that counts in the hour of testing.” To hear or read of the knowledge of others may encourage us or guide us. But we need to have first-hand knowledge of God in order to face the extreme trials of life. I cannot live off of someone else’s knowledge of God. I must know Him for myself.
Yet, I fear that many of us are trying to live off of second-hand knowledge. God may not be real in our lives, but we have read the stories of how He helped others. But Gideon was not satisfied with a God of the storybooks. He cried, “where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt?” (Judges 6:13). He wanted to know God first-hand.
Through Jeremiah, God tells a man to glory only in the fact “that he understandeth and knoweth me” (9:24). Paul probably knew God as few men in history. He even had revelations that are not for us today. But he still cried out, “That I may know him” (Philippians 3:10). May we have this heart for God in our own lives.
God does not want us to seek emotional experiences so we can glory in our experiences. True knowledge of God creates a desire to glory in God; not in the experience. However, the Son is willing to reveal the Father to us (Luke 10:22). He wants you to know Him in ways you have yet to experience. The question is, Do you want to know Him?