While this thought is not original with me, I’m always reminded that knowing about God is not the same as knowing God.
Mike Cope in his book, “One Holy Hunger” writes that we too often reduce our religion to a “data-based Christianity,” in which we become consumed with memorizing names, places, events, and scriptures, without pausing to ask, “What’s the message of Scripture?” “What is its central point?” “What is it trying to accomplish?”
While we obviously need to know what the Bible says, if we only approach it academically, without internalizing it, and growing closer to its author, we’ve missed the meaning of Christianity.
God seeks a relationship with His creation. He made us in His image and after His likeness so that the relationship might be reciprocal. The Old Testament prophets portrayed God as our Father and we as His children. He calls us to draw near to Him and desires to nurture us, protect us, enlighten us, and one day bring us home to live with Him.
“Seek the Lord,” is an oft-repeated refrain of the Psalmist, who clearly felt a deep, personal, and intimate relationship with God. “Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face evermore,” David pled (Ps. 105:4).
Knowing the qualities and character of God is not the same as experiencing connection, communication, and camaraderie with Him. Using this metaphor, David urges, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8).
Knowing the ingredients of a chocolate pie is nowhere near as satisfying as enjoying eating a piece of pie. Or maybe two. Similarly, being able to fill in the blanks of a class workbook, reciting the information He’s revealed, and filling our minds with facts, does not take the place of filling our hearts with God’s goodness, grace, and love.
J. I. Packer, was right when he wrote in his classic book, Knowing God, that “we must seek, in studying God, to be led to God.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman