I’ve been bombarded lately with the idea of knowing God, actually knowing him in an experiential way, no just knowing stuff about him. Everywhere I go, I bump into this concept. It’s clearly possible because Jesus himself says, “this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The word there is ginosko, which means to to have first-hand knowledge or experiential knowledge. This is not an intellectual concept. This is knowing God in the same way that I know my wife, my friends and my kids.
Then I picked up Dallas Willard’s The Spirit of the Disciplines. Wow. Quite challenging. But, he reminds us that this knowledge, when we live out of this proper relationship with our creator, the easy yoke and the light burden Jesus promises is the natural result. To this end, he quotes Oswald Chambers as saying,
The Sermon on the Mount is not a set of principles to be obeyed apart from identification with Jesus Christ. The Sermon on the Mount is a statement of the life we will live when the Holy Spirit is getting his way with us.
These thoughts are rather scattered and random right now, but I’m in a rather scattered and random place, so I ask your forgiveness. But, the more God leads me to dig into this concept, the more convinced I am that most Christians skip the first step in the discipleship process. We meet the risen Christ and are so excited to start doing stuff for him, that we don’t take the time to really get to know him first. Don’t get me wrong, we should always be about our Father’s business, but there seems to be this understanding that if a complete understanding of God’s character and identity isn’t instantly downloaded to your brain as you cry and pray at the altar that you’ve somehow done it wrong.
As I read the Gospels, Jesus spent a lot of time alone with his Father. He was never in a hurry, and he did a large portion of his ministry while he was on the way to someplace else. I don’t know exactly what the answer is, but I know that I don’t have it yet.