Knowing God

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Knowing God
Knowing God explains fundamental principles required to cultivate a deeper intimacy with God. If you are seeking the heart of God, this teaching is for you!

Knowing God

What level of intimacy do you think God wants to have with you? Perhaps the best way to understand this is to quote Genesis 3:8,

“They heard Yahweh God’s voice walking in the garden in the cool of the day...” (Genesis 3:8)

That is how close God was to man (Adam and Eve) when they were first created. It might be well argued that “the greatest distortion” of the church is that God does not will to be “that close” to man anymore. If you want to approach him, you need to do that through a leader. Or by getting a degree. Or by engaging in some great missionary activity.

I’m not saying any of these are bad, because God raises up (some) great leaders (not all leaders are great, and you need to use discernment; some are abusers who will be judged as completely unfaithful on judgment day — read Matthew 7:21-23 if you have any doubt).

And there might not be anything wrong with “getting a degree,” either (though there might and it would be absolutely wrong to say that you “should” get a degree, “just because” everyone else is getting one). I myself have a (bachelor’s) degree that is “useful,” but I also have another (master’s) degree that seems “completely useless” and I frankly wish I had never gotten it. It is a theological degree that I received from a half-hearted institution that denies God in some areas. I have never used it to get a job. It does not appear on my resume (which is designed for engineering jobs, so that would not be helpful, anyway). And I hardly mention it to anyone, except in this write-up, and very sporadically. It was all but “completely useless,” a waste of time, and a side-track on the real call of God for myself. Shame I was not in “listening mode” at that time!

However, I “forged ahead” when I was also warned by a very godly man, before he died, who said, “I’m not too sure about that.” This man is vindicated, because he was right. Getting this degree in fact set me behind substantially in my Christian walk. Epic fail. And for the sake of simply not throwing insult upon insult, I will not mention their name in this article. I’ve already mentioned the person who is “mostly responsible” for this, and that is myself. Be warned!

So yes, you might want to get a degree. But no, it will not get you any closer to God — especially some of these “theological” degrees, that have all but watered down the heart and power of God for today and who also deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit. A shame and a disgrace.

And then, with regards to “engaging in some great missionary activity,” I will also say, that, too, is not needed in order to get close to God, because, “great missionary activity” is simply defined as “pure, unadulterated obedience to God” — and heading off to China, for example, might constitute disobedience on your part, if God is not calling you there! I know a man, he went to Japan with his wife as “missionaries” and after a few years, they can back “beat and disillusioned.” They gave up all hope in that place, because things did not “work out as expected.” Obviously, their expectations were not in line with God’s, because if God had truly called them, then they would have stayed. By coming back, they proved that they made a mistake in this call. (Otherwise, God did call them, but they disobeyed in coming back.)

Either way, my point in saying all of this is to simply say, none of this (leaders, degrees, some great missionary activity) is needed in order to get close to God! Epic fail if you believe any of these lies that will hinder you in your Christian walk! It’s time to “grow up” and realize that God requires none of this, in order to get close to you. Does he want to get close to you? He does!

A few salient verses. Please read these, though I understand you may not like to read this much Scripture, but this is seriously important and I ask you to kindly bear with me on all of these quotes!

Your Sin Separates You From God

Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor his ear dull, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1-2)

If I cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18)

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners. Purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8)

Therefore “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

Let’s face it. Our sin is an abomination to God. If we “hold onto it,” then he will withdraw his favor from us. This is why we have no intimacy in the church. This is the reason why churches are “boring,” “lack vitality and meaning,” and why people “sleep in the pews.” They are just downright bored of silly sermons that are designed to bring in money. These pastors have no intimacy with God. Therefore, they preach on that which “means something” (meaning, “it takes the place of intimacy with God”). What is it? It’s an idol. This idol usually goes by one of these three names: Money. Power. Recognition.

All these three, if you seek for them, are sin.

Jesus said it best.

“You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and these are they which testify about me. Yet you will not come to me, that you may have life. I don’t receive glory from men. But I know you, that you don’t have God’s love in yourselves. I have come in my Father’s name, and you don’t receive me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him. How can you believe, who receive glory from one another, and you don’t seek the glory that comes from the only God? “Don’t think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you, even Moses, on whom you have set your hope. For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote about me. But if you don’t believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:39-47)

These were the religious people that Jesus was addressing. And these are the same types of people who lead your churches today. Most do not really know God. They know a “remote shell” of who God is. It is faint. It is distracted. It is entirely confused, because of their love for money, power, and recognition. Show me a single leader who does not fit into this category. They have all become corrupt. One in a thousand does not fall into this category. If you think I’m joking, no. I think my estimates are pretty correct. Sadly, I can find no witness from the Holy Spirit, who lives in me, and who has a place in my heart, against this statement. Am I confused? I do not think I am confused. I think I am “right in line” with what the truth is.

While it is a sad day for Christianity, it does not have to be a sad day for you. God can, and wills, to be close with you. He desires to get close to your heart, so that he might know you better. You are important to him, and all that “sin” that really does “separate you” from himself, he is ready to put that behind you, if you will to receive his complete forgiveness. Here is how you do it.

1. Believe he is loving enough to forgive you.

2. Will to forgive others, in the same way that you want to be forgiven, because Jesus said,

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you don’t forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

So whatever their crime is against you God knows what it is, and God does care about the hurt you suffered and will help you— but you must be willing to forgive them!

The Most Remarkable Thing

I have seen the most remarkable thing. I have on one occasion that I distinctly recall, as I was driving my car, in the “throngs” of some bitter spirit, that was waging war on my soul. For all I could think about was the pain that someone in the present, and then someone in the past, and then more people in the past, caused me. But I was mature enough in my walk with the Lord, to know that if I meditated and dwelled on this pain, that it would literally snuff the life and power of God right out of me. For I knew the saying was true, “Anger destroys the container that holds it.” So in wisdom —and this was God’s wisdom that he had taught me through many hard experiences— I made the conscious decision to “will to forgive” (I did not care who it was that had hurt me, or what it was that they had done). Yes, the pain was severe. A “painful sword” was piercing my heart. Do you remember that Jesus felt the pain of rejection? He said,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (See Matthew 27:46)

Jesus knew pain, and he knew sorrow. You don’t need to tell me how much pain he had to bear. We all know two things: he bore our sin, which is a lot, and we have no idea how much pain that truly represents, but it is a lot. We can and should be grateful for that. To know God is to will to forgive, even when you feel that pain. That’s what I know. I know it from years of experience. That’s one reason you should listen to your elders! Not because they are perfect, but because some of them have been to “hell and back” learning this lesson. Learn from them, so that you don’t have to needlessly repeat it!

At any rate, I made the conscious will to forgive. The pain was real. But I willed to get rid of it. You may be in pain today. Do you know that you can will to get rid of it? You can. If someone tells you you cannot, or if a lying spirit, or your own selfish spirit, that wants to “hang on at all costs” to your pain, tells you, “I cannot do it!” then that, too, is most assuredly lying to you!

I willed to get rid of it, so I said, “Father, I forgive my father. I forgive my mother. I forgive my sister. I forgive ....” And I went right down the list of all possible persons who might have offended me.

You said, “You didn’t know? You mean, you hadn’t forgiven?”

No, it is not this at all! For you can will to forgive one day, or even one year, or even for ten years, you can will to forgive. But just as easily, you can will to take up that offense again! Your heart is a deceiver! Jeremiah puts it this way.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and it is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Is this really true? Yes, it is! Otherwise, it would not be in God’s word. God wants us to know that we cannot trust our heart. And in the same manner, Jesus generally did not trust people. For we read,

But Jesus didn’t entrust himself to them, because he knew everyone, and because he didn’t need for anyone to testify concerning man; for he himself knew what was in man. (John 2:24-25)

So there you have it. Your Savior, Jesus Christ, who is my Savior and my God, will not just trust “any man.” Do you know why? I will tell you why. He already told us why!

If you are “like any other common man,” that simply goes about his business and does “whatever he wants” but without regard for the living God, then you are not worthy to be trusted with the riches of God’s grace and God’s goodness. God will, in fact, withhold his goodness from you meaning his intimacy. For what is more valuable than intimacy with God? Can silver or gold come close? Can human acclaim or worldly accomplishments even come close to touching the foot of God, let alone his heart? It cannot. You are fooling yourself. You will be tested by all of these riches, all of these degrees, all of these human accomplishments, all of these letters, and whatnot, that have been added to your name. Does any of it mean anything at all? Will it save you in the day of wrath?

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. (Proverbs 11:4)

And now, for a “very hard saying” of Jesus. I would like to ask you to “judge for yourself” what this means about Jesus, and the way he will treat you whether as his own, to be intimate with, or as a reprobate, to one day be utterly rejected and cast out from his midst.

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6, KJV)

What does this even mean?

When I think of the fact that Jesus was intimate with three men in particular, Peter, James, and John, and yet there were 12 disciples (and one was a traitor), then I realize that God himself “chooses” whom he wants to be closest to. Why?

Here is the question you need to ask yourself.

Am I a “swine” in God’s sight, or am I not? Do I trample the things of God, or do I not?

If you properly answer those two questions, you will have your answer as to whether or not God himself is willing to give you “that which is holy.”

What could be more holy than his intimacy?

 

 

 

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