In the vibrant core of the digital era, where data is abundant and ever-present on our devices, understanding God isn’t a puzzle – mere information about God falls short; we must intimately know Him and more importantly, be known by Him. It’s all about the relationship.
In some areas of Church life the emphasis today is becoming increasingly pedagogic (teaching), appealing to the intellect rather than an experiential knowledge of God (especially where the emphasis can be on how many points there are with all points starting with the same letter – useful – but not something Jesus or Paul ever did!) It goes without saying that knowing facts about God do not in any way equate to genuine wisdom, but in some quarters, it is seen that way.
If you are ‘hungry for God’ this is your imperative, your ‘must’.
Paul’s words to the Colossian church are crucial and imperative and, as we’ll see, need to resonate deeply with us today, inviting us to ascend to a much richer position: an experiential knowledge of God. This is not a fleeting or superficial acquaintance but a deep, transformative intimacy. If you are ‘hungry for God’ this is your imperative, your ‘must’.
It is some time since I ‘chewed over’ this text when at Bible College, but it was as challenging then as it is now
“…walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:10
The Greek term for “knowledge” used here is ἐπίγνωσις (epignosis) and as far as I recall it had the idea not of a fleeting, surface-level knowledge of God, but a “full-knowledge” of God. It is about growing in a precise, experiential, and intimate knowledge. If God is infinite (as He is) then there are no boundaries to the depths of which we can not only encounter Him, but also, grow in our knowledge of Him. That’s a good reason to have eternity in our hearts!
This ‘full-knowledge’ is an invitation to grow in God, experience the vast expanse of His grace and begin to search out the height, width and depth of His love not just for you, but for all of us who are known by Him.
Deepening Our Intimacy with God
To truly know God isn’t about a lifetime stockpiling biblical facts, but the cultivation of a profound relationship with Him. At the heart of our faith is this enduring invitation: a call to embark on a ceaseless voyage, exploring the boundless beauty, character, and love of God. But how do we, in our limited comprehension, even venture to grasp the limitless?
The journey commences with humility. Our quest isn’t to conquer the mysteries of God intellectually, but to humbly recognize our reliance on Him. We don’t approach Him in pride or ‘over-achievers’, but in humility with teachable hearts; learners, perpetually receptive and ever-eager to be moulded, changed and transformed.
Seeing God genuinely involves dwelling in His radiance. “In Your light, we see light,” (ps 36:9) reminds us that a genuine grasp of God is nurtured in ceaseless pursuit of Christ. Our evolving understanding of God has a bearing on our words. As we dive deeper into God, our words must echo His love, grace, and holiness. Our conversations either mirror His majesty or mask it.
It’s vital to note that our journey isn’t solitary either. This voyage is a shared one. In community, friendship and fellowship, we challenge and are challenged, we instruct and are instructed, refining each other’s perceptions of God. We become as iron sharpening iron.
Ultimately, this journey and adventure of deepening our knowledge of God is about syncing with His rhythm, attuning ourselves to His divine Presence, seeing what the Father is doing and cooperating with Him. The result? Not just an awareness of God, but a transformative intimacy, reshaping our very essence; helping us to grow in God.
How it can be done: A Heartfelt, Intentional Pursuit
Navigating our modern world with its relentless pace and constant click-bait call for attention, a profound question beckons the believer: How do we truly come to know God? The answer can be found in the old paths that have stood the test of time, gently guiding us closer to the Lord.
God leads us to God.
The Word of God is alive and active. It doesn’t just inform; it transforms. Think of David, who despite his royal stature and myriad distractions, found his direction in the Scriptures, declaring, “Your word is a lamp to my feet.” It wasn’t about ritual; it was about relationship. God leads us to God.
And then there’s prayer. Not just a routine monologue but a heart-to-heart with the Creator. As already mentioned, we thrive in community. Through collaborative discovery, we sharpen one another, challenging perspectives and cultivating deeper insights which in turn, affect our behaviour, our lives, and ultimately, our worship.
During our quiet times with the Lord it’s in the hushed whispers where God often resonates most profoundly and where He does His deepest, most meaningful changes and transformations in our heart. How we respond to the Lord (and each other in our acts of kindness and service)becomes the litmus test of our faith.
Getting to grips with the great books and teachings, broadening our spiritual horizons, exploring historical Christian writings, and earnestly engaging with fellow believers can further enhance our understanding. We have so much we can learn from each other that contributes to the ocean of a full-knowledge of God.
This journey, this pilgrimage of knowing God, isn’t about speed or spiritual accolades. It’s a relentless plod of pursuit, marked by moments of profound discovery and poignant reflection. Our aim? To know Him deeply, to be drawn into His presence, and to be reshaped in His glorious image.
Navigating the Barriers to Intimacy with God
So what is going to get in the way, what’s the elephant in the room? In the landscape of our journey with God, distractions loom. Mood music changes often in life, testing our hearts and with it comes a challenge to that dogged, determined, resolute drive to take hold of all that God has for us. Today, technology’s gleam, materialism’s pull, and even the well-meaning acts severed from God’s heart threaten to divert us.
We often face a reality check as we tread the spiritual wilderness, yearning to know God with profound intimacy – we are often ensnared by these unseen snares. Recognizing them isn’t a sign of defeat but the first stride towards triumph.
Our culture carrot-dangles gleaming substitutes in exchange for divine intimacy.
Our world reverberates with ceaseless motion, often drowning the divine whisper meant for still moments. There are droughts in our spiritual walk, moments when Heaven seems silent. Unconfessed sin casts shadows on our spiritual journey, making our prayers seem void. Our culture carrot-dangles gleaming substitutes in exchange for divine intimacy.
Every believer grapples with these barriers.
Yes, the path is strewn with obstacles, but here’s the great solar-flare of hope: The pursuit of the knowledge of God is propelled not by our might, but by His grace. We don’t tread this terrain alone. We tread it with our friends.
More importantly, we tread it with one called Immanuel, and He will never leave us or forsake us. He ever draws and leads us to an epignosis – a full knowledge of Him!
Colossians 1:10 invites us to a profound quest, a relentless pursuit of knowing God intimately. While barriers loom, grace abounds, beckoning us deeper into His heart. To truly know God, to walk with Him, and to be transformed by this profound intimacy is the highest calling and the grandest adventure of the human spirit.
In an age of information (and not much truth), may we be a people not merely of knowledge, but of profound intimacy with our God, growing in a meaningful, Christ-exalting, gripping, glorious full knowledge of God.