KNOW GOD FOR YOURSELF
Many people often precede important statements they make with, “My pastor says,” or “My bishop says.” That is wonderful! It is a privilege to learn significant truths from our spiritual leaders. However, that is not enough for us to live vibrant and triumphant Christian lives.
God is not an abstract entity that controls the universe. He is a Person, who though not human, has a character, feelings and emotions like we do and longs for not just the clergy but each of us to be close to Him (Revelation 3:20; John 14:23; Jeremiah 31:3).
This is why in Jeremiah 31:34, God states that a time will come among His people when “they will not need to teach their neighbors, nor will they need to teach their relatives, saying, ‘You should know the LORD.’ For everyone, from the least to the greatest, will know me already.” (New Living Translation)
This wish is also seen in the Bible passages which call God our Father, Friend, Shepherd, among other names, to illustrate the various dimensions of the relationship we can have with Him (Matthew 6:9; John 15:14; Psalm 23:1).
When our faith is tried and life becomes tough, it is the personal relationship we have with Him that enables us to hang in there and pull through. For example, when we experience a delay in having our expectations met, because we know God personally, we can tell Him our frustrations and receive encouragement from Him. When we suffer loss, we can pour our grief out to Him and receive comfort.
When we know God personally, we won’t be easily flustered by the threats of the enemy or the success of others because we know our God, who is mightier than the enemy, is always with us and He has our own timetable and path to success lined out.
How do we know God for ourselves? By accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour and learning about God through His Word. As we read the Bible daily and commune with God in prayer, we learn His character as we do that of a new friend. We learn what He likes and dislikes and we experience first hand what He can do as we walk with Him from day to day.
While it is helpful to hear what other people who know God (like our pastors, Christian friends and relatives) say about Him, that is not sufficient because they may sometimes speak from their peculiar experience with Him which may not necessarily apply to us. For example, a pastor may not take medication because that is how God has led him, but God may not forbid us from taking them. When we follow God’s prescriptions for others, we may find them burdensome or even dangerous, but when we follow His particular prescriptions for us, His grace will be abundant to help us keep them (1 John 5:3).
Also, when people around us who know God experience tragedy or renounce God, that will not destroy our faith because we know God for ourselves and realise that those things do not mean He is wicked or unworthy of our continued allegiance.
So, if you haven’t done so, repent of your sins, welcome God into your life through His Son, Jesus, and embark on the exciting journey of being intimate with the Ruler of the universe.
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