We read in II Peter 1:3, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (NIV) These words got me to thinking about how we know who God is. I don’t doubt God has made himself known to us, but in the day-to-day life of most people this seems to be an elusive knowledge.
I think one reason this is true is that I don’t think we necessarily want more knowledge of God. We hear people talk about the desire to know God above all other desires, but how often is such talk just lip service, or our attempt to get God to stamp our lives with the God-stamp of approval, or just our way of saying we want a faith that creates God in our own image? I am speaking about believers when I say we find out as much as we want to find out about God, and then we stop looking. I think this is true because when we start trying to learn more about God, God desires us to give more of ourselves to Him.
My experience with prayer illustrates this. During my seminary days I hoped to learn to preach well, and in all my studies of great preachers their advice was the same: read more and pray more. I never get to read as much as I want, but I have a pretty active reading life. As I neared graduation I realized the obvious, my prayer life was immature. It could be reduced to the dinner prayer, bedtime prayers, and prayers of terror (“Dear God, get me out of this one!”).
I found a small booklet called “An Adventure In Prayer” by Ben Johnson had all the information I needed to get started learning to pray as a mature Christian should learn to pray. So I set out on a journey to be a better preacher by learning to pray. Learning more about God was really not my intention. What I found was a new doorway to God that has completely changed my life, as God has used my prayer life to call me to greater obedience, purity, and adventures. Some of those adventures I would have never chosen for myself because they were too hard, but as my weaknesses were exposed I had to turn to God for strength. In such great challenges you learn lots more about God than you would ever dream.
Today I would like to challenge you to think about how spiritually disciplined you are. Do you pray regularly, read the Bible daily, worship the Lord regularly, tithe, serve others, share the Good News of the Gospel, and meet with other Christians for guidance and strength? This is a short list of the spiritual disciplines Jesus instructed his disciples to do to better serve Him and learn more about God. There are plenty of books that can guide you in all of these spiritual disciplines at any Christian bookstore, but at some point you just have to start doing them regularly to learn more about God.
If you continue to read II Peter 1 you will see that a spiritually disciplined life will bring two great rewards. The first is maturity to keep us from stumbling in life. Imagine being able to bless those who curse you, pray without ceasing, be at peace when not given credit for deeds you have done, and master evil that comes your way. These are just a few of the many rewards that increased knowledge of God can bring to your life.
Secondly, you will receive the gift of eternal life with God. God desires to take care of us for eternity. The only power that can deny God this is our own free will. If we choose to develop our faith through the spiritual disciplines we will find that the promises of God are the most important thing in all of life, and we will always desire to know God more.
Do you desire to know God more, or have you achieved a comfort level that is satisfactory? What do you think God desires as far as a deeper relationship with you is concerned? Are there barriers you set up between you and God to keep God at a safe distance? What might happen if you tore a few of those barriers down?
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