Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beelieve - Know God Intimately: Week 3, Part 2

This past week and this week God has been showing us some of the good things we will enjoy as our knowledge of God grows. Last Tuesday, He showed us that Scriptures declares that “the people who know their God will display strength and take action” (Daniel 11:32). That is a great promise. Last Wednesday, God showed us something about people who know Him. Peter says, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). His statement reveals that both grace and peace are increased in the believer’s life by the full or thorough knowledge of God. And last Thursday, we learned that people who intimately know God have spiritual wisdom. Yesterday, we saw that we will bear fruit and increase in every good work by the knowledge of God.
There is one more common blessing of knowing God that I would like to point out. It is found in Paul’s letter to the Galatians. They seemed to have had a problem with legalism. Their Christian lives were a drudge: “I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that, I can’t go here, I can’t say that.” They lived in continuous fear that they had not done enough to please God and that led to overwhelming feelings of guilt. The only way to compensate for their guilt was to try harder. They were probably saying, “I must clench my teeth and give it all I’ve got. But I really don’t feel like it. I wish God would get off my back.” So along with the fear and guilt there was probably bitterness against God for the anxiety they were feeling. One word sums up that kind of Christian life—bondage!

God never intended us to live in bondage! Knowing Him truly, personally, and intimately delivers us from bondage. Paul wrote to them, “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again?” (Galatians 4:9) They came to know God and their knowledge had delivered them from bondage. But as sad as it was, they had willfully chosen to put themselves back under the very bondage from which they had been delivered. Why? What was their problem?

Trying to please God without growing in our knowledge of Him will put us under bondage every time. We think we have to perform to be accepted. So we struggle and strive to please Him, never sure we have succeeded, frustrated over the pressure we think He is putting on us, and yet afraid to stop trying. That kind of life is absolute misery.

When we understand His love, His grace, His forgiveness, and His unconditional acceptance of us in Christ, obedience is no longer a struggle or a drudge. It is free, natural, and joyful. In fact, it is truly enjoyable. We obey Him not because we think we must do it in order to gain His approval, but because we want to. We consider it a wonderful privilege. We love the one who has already accepted us, unworthy though we are, and we take pleasure in pleasing Him. Paul pleads with the Galatians and with us, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 KJV). The only way we can do that is to get to know Him better.

There is actually no end to the blessings of knowing God. As Peter put it, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowl­edge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence(2 Peter 1:3). Everything we need to guarantee us eternity in God’s presence is found in our knowledge of Him. Everything we need to assist us to live godly lives here and now is found in our knowledge of Him. Everything! It sounds again as though getting to know God could be the most important facet of our Christian lives. What are we waiting for? Let’s begin to grow in our knowledge of Him.

Action To Take

Begin to think about God at frequent intervals throughout the day. In each new situation ask yourself, “What difference would it make if I knew God’s perspective on this? How would I respond if I really knew God?”


He & Me + 3 said...

Great thoughts...We should think that all the time & our decisions may be a whole lot different.

Grace said...

What a great way to ponder God's goodness, Michelles. It is very true, we need God in every step of the way. Prayer is the best weapon a human can have. God bless you, Michelle.

Denise said...

Good stuff.