Our Faculties for Knowing God
Long for the spiritual milk…..if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.(I Peter 2:2-3)
A loving Personality dominates the Bible, walking among the trees of the garden and breathing fragrance over every scene. Always a living Person is present, speaking, pleading, loving, working, and manifesting Himself whenever and wherever His people have the receptivity necessary to receive the manifestation.
The Bible assumes as a self-evident fact that men can know God with at least the same degree of immediacy as they know any other person or thing that comes within the field of their experience. The same terms are used to express the knowledge of God as are used to express the knowledge of physical things. “O taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) “All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, our of the ivory palaces (Psalm 45:8) “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27) “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8) These are but four of the countless passages from the Word of God. And more important than any proof of the text is the fact that the whole import of the Scriptures is toward this belief.
What can all this mean except that we have in our hearts organs by means of which we can know God as certainly as we know material things through our familiar five senses? We possess spiritual faculties by means of which we can know God and the spiritual world I’d we will obey the Spirit’s urge and begin to use them.
That a saving work must first be done in the heart is taken for granted here. The spiritual faculties of the unregenerate man lie asleep in his nature, unused and for every purpose dead; that is the stroke which has fallen upon us by sin. They may be quickened to active life again by the operation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration; that is one of the immeasurable benefits which come to us through Christ’s atoning work on the cross.
A. W. Tozer
As we think about God and His interrelationship with humanity, we often miss the personality of God and His desire for a personal rather than a ritualistic connection. Yet the Bible over and over emphasizes the personal over the performance or ritualistic relationship. Beginning with Adam and Eve and moving through the Bible all the way to Revelation, we are given the picture of God as a Personality rather than a religious icon. The unfortunate thing is that humans continuously create performance based relationships. We set in place social rules and expectations for our human relationships and our spiritual relationship with God. We read that God’s unchanging desire is to have an informal personal connection with His creation and yet most never seem to arrive at that kind of walk with God.
We know that Adam and Eve walked with God physically. We read that Enoch walked with God and Noah communicated with God. We are told that Abraham and Moses were called the friends of God and David is described as a man after the heart of God. We know that Jesus reintroduced God as a Father and Paul describes Him as Abba Father which pictures an intimate father- child relationship.
As I have pondered all the things that are taking place with the Covid-19 social distancing, I’ve concluded that in this time our Heavenly Father is calling us to Himself in a closer, more intimate walk. When we are unable to be so involved with everything else, we find perhaps we have more time to develop our relationship with God. In ancient Jewish culture, a bride and groom were to seperate themselves from normal social activities so that they might get to know each other. The groom was exempt from military service and work and the bride was to separate herself from family to be exclusively with her husband. It’s interesting that the Bible uses the relationship between a husband and wife to describe the relationship between Christ,the groom and we, the church. This is a good time to consider your relationship with God. May I say as a pastor that I’m well aware that we can have a relationship with the church without having a relationship with Christ. In this time, when due to restrictions placed on gatherings and our work, we find ourselves wondering where we fit into the scheme of things, perhaps we might use this to grow deeper in our friendship with God,
The sad story that Jesus tells of the prodigal son exposes the relationship between the father and the elder son. In the parable, the elder son represented the Jews, who were supposed to be the “first born” in relationship with God, tells us that they saw their relationship as master/servant. Even the disciples thought this was the relationship that Jesus set in place. But Christ made known to them and us that we were not servants but friends, bringing our relationship to a higher plane.
“13 No one has greater love [nor stronger commitment] than to lay down his own life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you keep on doing what I command you. 15 I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything that I have heard from My Father.”
Best friends share everything with each other. No secrets and they feel comfortable being themselves. No fronting or pretending, just the person in the raw. This is what God wants. We becoming friends with Him, sharing every moment, feeling, fear, concern, dream, and hope; and He becoming friends with us, sharing His plans, His desires and together at times just being together, walking on the beach or viewing the mountains with Him and hearing Him say, “Friend, I created all this for your pleasure and to express my love for you!”
May you and I become best friends with God.
Dr. John Thompson