Knowing God Personally and Intimately
A lot of Christians have knowledge about God, but very few know him personally and intimately. There is a big difference between having knowledge about God and knowing God. One is distant, the other close.
First of all, it is important to know the meaning of knowledge and knowing in order to grasp the difference between the two words.
According to web dictionary, knowledge is information and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It is also defined as what is known in a particular field or in total; facts and information.
Dictionary.com defines knowledge as acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation. Therefore, it will be noted knowledge is acquired through gathering of information and/or facts by studying or through investigation.
Consequently, it will be noted knowledge is acquired through gathering of information (containing facts) through studying, investigation or as a result of experience. For example, if a Christian says he has knowledge about God, it means he has found from gathering information in the Bible that God is love, caring, merciful, faithful and gracious. There is nothing wrong with this. This is the first step to have a grasp of who is God, that is, His nature.
Nevertheless, knowledge in itself is useless if what has been gathered cannot be applied practically. A person can gain knowledge through experience but if he cannot apply what he has gained through experience, then the knowledge he has gained is useless.
The Bible says faith without works is dead. What has been heard or read and if it is not put into action then the knowledge gained is meaningless. It won’t help the person at all.
It will be noted a lot of marriages break up because spouses did not take time to know each other well during the dating period. They only had knowledge about each other. They did not go deeper to really get to know each other. This is the reason why couples do not understand each other when one behaves differently. If a marriage has to endure through thick and thin, the would-be-spouses need to take time to know each other before getting married. The same case applies to God.
This is clearly noted by Atchurchsource, "A man could study about a great man, read his biography, and admire his life, but until he meets the man personally, he can never say that he knows him. Knowing requires personal contact. The extent of knowing is dependent on the extent of personal contact. Unless we have personal contact with God, we do not know God." It is also stated, "Most people think they know God because they know facts about God and believe the right things. God does want us to know and believe truths, but this does not constitute knowing God."
Knowledge about God is whereby a person hears or reads about God but never invited Him to be the Lord of his life. When you invite Him into your life, He becomes real and you end up with a relationship with Him. God created us in His own image as stated in Genesis 1:26. He designed us with the emotional and spiritual capacity to have an intimate relationship with Him.
Pharisees were known to boast of having lots of knowledge about God by following His laws and commandments. However, as recorded in the book of Romans, good works will never get man to heaven. Following the laws and commandments will never get man to heaven. It does not in any way mean the person knows God personally and intimately. It is not about following laws but having a relationship with God.
A son cannot say he has a personal and intimate relationship with his father if there is no continuous communication between the two of them. In order to know God personally and intimately, a Christian needs to ensure there is a continuous relationship with God through prayers, meditating on God's word, fellow-shipping with other Christians and living as a Christian should by what is written in the Bible and following the leading of the Holy Spirit.
Obeying God without having a close relationship with Him is useless. God is a person like us, only He is in a spiritual form therefore He desires for us to have a close relationship with Him on a continuous basis.
It is said knowledge is power. Nonetheless, it is not power if what has been gained through gathering information and/or facts is not put into action. The first step to knowing God personally and intimately is by acquiring information - knowledge. In the Bible God says, "My people perish because of lack of knowledge.” Knowledge is the first step to having a personal and intimate relationship with God. Knowing is the second step. They have to go hand-in-hand.
Knowing God Intimately - Billy Humphrey
The following scriptures are worth reading: Romans 10:2, 1 Corinthians 8:1b, Hosea 4:6, Proverbs 2:6, 9-11, Proverbs 9:6.