January 30, 2012
I have been reading a book called Boys Adrift by Leonard Sax. (It is a great book, by the way, and I highly recommend it.) The book discusses boys who are under motivated or under-achieving. In his discussion, Sax talks about two kinds of knowledge. I think his discussion of knowledge is highly appropriate to our understanding of our relationship with Christ.
Sax shares that the verb to know in the English language has two major definitions. The first is to know something as fact or truth or to be aware or cognizant of something. The second is to be acquainted with something through experience. In the discussion of education, he refers to book knowledge vs. experiential knowledge.
Interestingly, he points out that the English language has only one word for “to know,” and that perhaps we sometimes miss out on experiential knowledge because we use the verb “to know” so generally. He also says that other languages, such as French, Spanish, and German, have two different words to represent these ideas—one word to denote head knowledge, a separate word to denote experiential knowledge.
So, which definition do we mean when we say we long to know God? I suspect that what we mean is that we want more experience of God. Those of us who have been serving Him for many years, attending church regularly, even studying the Bible through daily devotions, can probably claim quite a bit of knowledge that pertains to facts, truths, and cognizance. We can quote Scripture, reference Scripture, tell Bible stories, apply parables, and pray and claim Scripture, even use it affectively in our daily lives. But what we really desire in our heart of hearts is to know Him intimately. That desire has been placed in us by God. That kind of knowledge takes experience. And that comes from studying God’s Word for ourselves, instead of always relying on the “experts.” What we need is our own experience. When we study for ourselves, God gives us a personal revelation of Himself and a personal application of our knowledge to our own lives. I believe that is what we truly want if we say we want to know God or know more of God.
This is probably the kind of knowledge Paul talks about when he prays for the saints in Ephesians1:17-19. If you read it in the Amplified Version, there are a lot of adjectives used to describe knowledge, which implies knowledge is greater than just awareness.
It takes a lot of effort to spend this type of time getting to know God. But that is true of any relationship. Time is essential. However, if we make a commitment to spend that time, God will reward it. God is a Rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
May you find more and more experiential knowledge of God as you seek to walk more closely with Him.
Until next time,