It seems like everybody knows celebrities and superstars — people like Blake Sheldon, Tom Cruise, Ariana Grande, and Dwayne Johnson. But the reality is, very few people know celebrities. We know about them.
You might be a follower on their Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, but you really don’t know them. You wouldn’t pass by Lebron James and he’d stop and call you by name and ask how your family is doing. There’s a huge difference between knowing about someone, and really knowing somebody in an authentic relationship.
I think a lot of people, if asked the question, “Do you know God?” would say “Yes!” And when pressed, they might share all the things they know about God.
But the real question is “Do you know God?” Do you have a close relationship, an intimate friendship where you share your heart with Him and listen to each other, hang out together spending time together?
Knowing about God is not the same as knowing God! We can know a lot about God without knowing God. Knowing God implies friendship, personal involvement, communication and intimacy. Theologian Karl Barth called knowing God is to know Him as a “covenant partner.”
In Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you …”
Imagine thinking that you’re going to heaven, you lived a good life, you attended church, you gave tithes and offerings, served in some mission projects – and you get to heaven, and Jesus says, “Sorry, but I never knew you!”
It is vitally important that we know God and that He knows us through a living, dynamic, growing relationship that doesn’t end Sunday mornings when church is over but runs through each and every day!
Theologian and Bible scholar J.I. Packer came up with four traits about people who really know God in his book, “Knowing God.”
First, Packer wrote that “people who know God have great thoughts of God.” How big is your God? Can He do the impossible? Can He change people’s hearts and lives? Can He put marriages and families back together again? Can He do the impossible? People who know God say, “Yes! God can do all those things and so much more!”
Second, Packer wrote, “people who know God have great energy for God!” They accomplish great things for God because they give God their best!
I love what Robert Schuller once said, “I’d rather attempt great things for God and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed!”
One of the great killers of both Christians and congregations is when they stop dreaming. They’re tired and weary and they stop trying. They don’t see obstacles as challenges they can face in the power of God, but as roadblocks that are impossible to move. God said, “It’s not by human might or strength, but by My Spirit, says the Lord!”
Third, Packer wrote that “people who know God have great boldness for God!” They are not afraid to speak up and stick their necks out for God! They’re not afraid to swim upstream against the current. They don’t hide the fact that they believe and stand up to the crowd and when appropriate say, “No! This is wrong and dishonors God!”
The Bible, Church history and even today there are men and women and children who know God and face horrific consequences for not denouncing their faith. We need people like that in Washington and even in our own churches and denominations who know God and will be bold and resist evil where ever it is.
Fourth, Packer wrote that “people who know God have a great contentment in God.” I used to have a small plaque that read: “If you have everything but Christ, you have nothing! If you have nothing but Christ, you have everything!”
People who know God live content in all circumstances with a peace that passes understanding because they have God and that’s all they need. In good times, and in bad; in times of plenty and in times of want — as long as they have God, they have all they really want or need.