But God has revealed it to us by the Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (1 Cor. 2:10)

Our hearts are not satisfied with shallow moments alone. We long to launch out into the depths of the knowledge of God – the experiential knowledge that blends knowledge and intimacy. It is never enough to know facts. We want to know God and we wish to be known as well by God.

Our Need

The world is fallen and corrupted by sin. We only can see the slightest remnant of the Creator’s character here in the earth and in human cultures. We need more. This world is like a fine work of art that has been marred and scarred, neglected and misused, and chipped and dirtied – and though through carefully looking we can still see some hint of the original artist’s skill and intent, its beauty is obscured by the damage it has sustained.

And our hearts are much the same. We need to see the beauty of God that truly satisfies. We need to know the plan and purpose of God that calls us to a higher level of purpose and of hope. We need to see the face of God that comforts our hearts, gives us peace, and lets us relax in the acceptance we find in His grace.

Eternal life is summed up in knowing “the one true God and Jesus Christ” whom was sent by God to redeem us (John 17:3). To know God becomes not only a hope, but it becomes our very purpose in life. To know Him is not merely to have a new affection for someone. It is also to know ourselves, for He reveals who we are through His love. This liberates our hearts as nothing else will or can.

The “How”

It is the grace of God in Christ that reveals God to us – that is the “why” of knowing God. We can know God because He chooses to reveal Himself to us out of His love.

The means of His revealing are found in four main areas: the Word of God; the life of Christ; the movement of the Spirit; and through our fellow believers. We do more than learn facts and truths about God in the Word – we meet God Himself. And specifically as we follow the life of Christ, the gospel narratives, a person emerges and a personality is revealed to us. Paul wrote that “light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).

And the Spirit searches our hearts and reveals the heart of God. Christ said, speaking of the coming of the Spirit upon the Church:

And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, “Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?” Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. (John 14:21-23)

What stronger words could Christ have used to teach us this principle other than to say that through the indwelling Spirit He and the Father will make their home in the hearts of those who believe? And we also see Christ revealing His personality among the believers themselves – “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27).

So the how is simple – get into the Word of God regularly, read the gospel narratives with interest, listen to His Spirit speak to your heart through the Word, and spend time with spiritual Christians who are also experiencing closeness with God.

The Deep Things

But there is something else here – that God wants us to go deep in our knowledge of Him. It takes time and honesty to do this. We need to let Him confront us with the shallowness of life. We have substituted entertainment for worship, pleasantness for real joy, and an absence of conflict for the peace of God that is deep and profound.

I believe this is why God still allows sorrows and losses to hound us here, because these force us to go deeper. We need to find the Rock that is stable, not the slippery mud where we have no solid place to stand. David wrote of what is on the hearts of many of us:

Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God. (Psalm 69:1-3)

Knowing God must be more than a passing fancy for our lives. It should consume us. And it will be experienced more deeply at some times than at others – most often during times of hardship and difficulty and grief. But there, in those painful moments, if we will let Him, God will reveal to us who He is in a deep and unforgettable way. Sorrows do not merely make us wiser – they also transform character.

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