The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 118

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” [1 John 2: 3-6, emphasis mine].

The gospels record many of the ‘hard sayings’ of Jesus. I believe they are hard sayings for two reasons. Firstly, the hearer is challenged to accept the truth they convey. Secondly, the hearer is challenged with the responsibility to live by them.

The hard saying before us today was spoken by John, the beloved disciple. Read it again! Does it not challenge you? Do you claim to know Jesus? Then you must walk like Jesus did! The believer’s calling is a high calling. Could it be plainer?

The business of knowing God is our chief business. Many professing Christians talk about knowing him but are not prepared to practise knowing him. For many people ‘knowing God’ consists simply of giving intellectual assent to his claims on their lives and of accepting (intellectually) the fact that he died for our sins. They might study the bible a little, pray regularly and even get involved in some ‘ministry’ or other. They might even tithe regularly. But all of these, good as they might be in themselves, do not constitute knowing God.

We talk about ‘having a personal relationship with Jesus’, but do we really understand what that means? You see, the word translated ‘know’ really speaks of intimacy rather than intellectual knowledge. Do we study the bible simply to have more bible knowledge or do we search scripture to hear and to see the person behind it? There is a big difference between knowing about and knowing. A word of caution is appropriate here. We are not to forsake ‘knowing about’ God through his word, but to pursue it with zeal. However, our motivation for doing this must always be to ‘know’ God. As someone aptly put it: “We must not just know the word of God but must know the God of the word.” Is our conversation two-way? Do we do all the talking but no listening? Do we hear the heart of God?

To test whether we are growing in intimacy with him we must examine ourselves daily. Does our companionship with God change the way in which we act towards others? Do we live with more sensitivity to others’ needs, with greater compassion and generosity? Or are we so spiritual minded that we are of no earthly good?

How well we know God is reflected in how we image Christ here and now, not in the hereafter. It is only to that extent that true knowledge of God dwells in us.

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues