Keep yourself out of the “unfortunate” camp by considering Paul’s prayer for the Christians at Ephesus…and for you and me. “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17, NIV)
Key thought here- “to know him better.” What does it mean to “know God?” The original language of the New Testament (Greek) has two key words translated as “know/knowledge.” The first means “to see, perceive, know, have knowledge of, to be aware of something.” This is head knowledge, these are facts that lodge in our brains. The Bible is filled with facts and teachings and doctrines. You can know and recite them as mere facts. You can know what the wind chill is without actually going out to experience it.
Which leads to the second Greek word for “know/knowledge.” It means “to come to know, understand, recognize.” Here is heart knowledge – to know by experience, to know intimately. The minute you step out into sub-zero wind chills, it’s no longer just a fact/head knowledge, it’s experiential and intimate. In fact, your heart may actually feel a bit of a chill.
Spiritually speaking, heart knowledge is the growing faith relationship brought about and maintained by the Holy Spirit only through Word and Sacrament. We can fill our heads with the doctrines and teachings of Jesus in Scripture, and we should. When that head knowledge becomes heart knowledge by the working of “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” we come to know God more intimately, more closely in terms of relationship. He isn’t just God, he is MY God.
What does “knowing God better” look like?
- When God says we’re forgiven, let’s take him at his Word, unload the guilt, leave it at the foot of the cross and forget about it.
- When God says we’re free from sin’s power, that sin no longer has the final say…let’s not let sin enslave us by excusing it/hiding it/covering it up, but rather confess sin, turn away from it and plead for the Lord’s help in fighting it until the day sin is no more.
- When God our Father says we are precious to him, let’s take him at his Word; the sending of his Son Jesus is proof.
- When our Father says we’re provided for, let’s stop worrying.
- When he says he’s in control, let’s let him do his thing.
These are choices we can make because we have a God of grace and power, a God who continues to grow our relationship, again, only through Word and Sacrament.
What a great thought for each new day – “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” (Ephesians 1:17, NIV) What a tremendous grace-enabled plan for the New Year – to seek to know God better through worship, Bible study and immersion in the Means of Grace (the Gospel in Word and Sacraments)!
A Blessed New Year to you and yours!
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand