How do we get to know someone—anyone?
I think the artist Georgia O’Keefe was on to something when she said, “Nobody sees a flower – really – it is so small it takes time – we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.”
It takes time to really get to know someone. Through time spent really listening to someone we can learn a lot about the things that they’re most passionate about, what matters most to them, and the things they may not like or even hate. We can learn about someone’s true character the longer we spend time with them. But can we ever truly and fully know someone? The only One who can truly know us is our Creator God Himself (Ps. 139).
How do we get to know God?
So if only God, our Creator, can truly know us, how are we expected to know Him? Romans 1:19-20 says that “what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.” It’s true that when we take time to really look, study, and ponder what God has created we can learn something about Him and His eternal power. But even in this, we are limited as our senses of smell, hearing, and eyesight are dependent on the proximity of things. So how can we know God, Who is invisible and seems far from us? (Acts. 17:27, Ephesians 3:18)
God has provided the gift of knowing Him through the revelation of His Word. The full knowledge of God is revealed and found only in the person of Jesus Christ. “For God Who commanded light to shine out of darkness, has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). Christ the Son is the brightness of God’s glory and the express image of His person (Heb. 1:3, John 1:1-2, 14). Only in the person of the Living Word and in the pages of the written Word can we come to know God. We can’t acquire the knowledge of a complex, triune God by our limited human reasoning any more than by our limited human senses. As an infinite God He can never fully reveal Himself to finite beings. In revealing Himself at all to us He has to condescend to the level that we have the capacity to understand. In God’s written Word He uses figures of speech called anthropopatheia that speak of Himself as a man so that we can comprehend something beyond our limited capabilities. When He speaks of His “nostrils”, His “bosom”, His “repenting”, or other human actions it’s used to help us understand an idea of reality. It’s the same when God speaks of Himself in three modes of being as Father, Son, and Spirit. Each display different activities yet are connected as one. Throughout God’s Word we see how the whole Godhead is revealed and engaged in gaining and attaining the access of all His children to Himself.
Salvation is created FOR us by the WILL of God the Father (the Source).
It is brought TO us by the WORK of God the Son (the Channel).
It is realized IN us and secured for us by the WITNESS of God the Holy Spirit (the Conveyor).
Without the work of Christ the will of the Father would not have been done for us. Without the witness of the Spirit the Father’s grace would not have been known by us (Eph. 2:18). It’s only through God’s Spirit that man or woman can comprehend the thoughts of God. “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). It’s the one who trusts in Christ (after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of their salvation) and believes. They become sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (the Guarantor of their inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession) (Ephesians 1:13-14). It’s only through the Spirit from God that one might know the things freely given to them by God (1 Cor. 2:12, Eph. 1:17-21, Phil. 3:10). This includes God’s love—”to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge” (Eph. 3:19). It’s the Spirit’s direction that’s essential to the knowledge of the love of God (Rom. 5:5). It’s in Christ alone that this love can be experienced (not based on anything from us) (Rom. 5:8, Eph. 2:4-9). As the Spirit directs the believer’s heart into the love of the Father, the true measure of this love is comprehended (Eph. 3:18). We also learn that it’s a love that’s here to stay (Rom. 8:38-39).
Though we might not be able to understand fully or even explain fully, we are by grace empowered to believe and experience what God has revealed. “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known” (1 Cor. 13:12). The last use of the word ‘know’ in this verse means to fully know (Greek epignosis). This means to know thoroughly and accurately—to recognize. The same meaning of ‘knowledge’ in Ephesians 1:17, and Colossians 1:9 is used in the prayers of the Apostle Paul for believers to be ‘given the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” and to be “filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” To recognize someone and know them thoroughly and accurately requires an investment of time. What an opportunity to know our loving Creator, Savior, and Renewer! Faith is built each moment spent in His Word and those who diligently seek Him out are rewarded (Rom. 10:17, Heb. 11:6). We’d be foolish to not take advantage of the opportunity to develop the healthiest relationship we’ll ever have. So turn off the TV and set your phone, devices, and any other distractions aside. Open up God’s Word and get to know Him better. There’s no wiser use of your time than to know and enjoy God (Phil. 3:8, 1 Tim. 4:7-10).
“May the LORD, the Spirit, direct your hearts into the love of GOD, the Father, and into the patience of CHRIST, the Son” (2 Thess. 3:5). And we all need the patience of Christ in the evil times that we live in (Eph. 5:16).
Patiently waiting for His glorious appearing, Laura (Lam. 3:25-26, Titus 2:13)