Spiritual Growth, Devotional
If We Love God, Will We Want To Know Him?
by Ed Vasicek
I know a lot about my wife. Because I do, for Mother's Day, I'll probably grill spare ribs smothered in Yoshida's Sweet 'N Sour Sauce for her. I know the colors that look best on herbright ones. Sadly, I am sometimes oblivious to new earrings and even new clothing that she wears. After all, I am a man. But many times I do notice. I make a serious effort to understand her.
I know details about her family, her past, her education, her hobbies, talents and skills, and I find I am always learning more. No one on earth knows more about Marylu than I. That's the way it should be. Why have I learned so much about her? Because I love her! Because I love her, I expend effort to learn about her. Sounds too obvious to state, doesn't it?
So, if, when we love a person, we want to find out as much as we can about that person, is it too much of a leap to suggest that it is no different with our love relationship to God? Is it possible to love God and choose to remain ignorant of Him? I do not think so. It is possible to know volumes about God and not love Him, but I do not think it is possible for most of us to love God and yet continue to know little about Him. Miniscule knowledge betrays an insincere heart.
Some people are hindered by circumstances from getting to know about God: mental limitations, immaturity, health, persecution, or lack of materials (including Bibles) come to mind. But I have found it sadly true that many, claiming to know Christ, are only willing to love God with their feelings, not their minds. And such an incomplete love is not love at all.
If I knew nothing of Marylu's preferences after twenty years of marriage, if I could not list her parents' names, her favorite foods, or her cherished dreams, you might tell me that I really didn't love her. And you'd be right. No matter what my claims about deep feelings, my lack of concern, evidenced by not spending time with her or listening to her, would expose my true attitude. It would become clear that mine was a love that was at best defective, at worst, merely an illusion.
When supposed followers of Christ do not grasp the most elementary truths about God, I am suspicious. How can you say you love God, and yet spend an infinitesimal amount of time trying to understand His ways? God has His plans, concerns, likes and dislikes. It takes a lifetime sometimes for the genders to begin to understand one another, but God is so much more complex. Yet we often put in such little effort to understand who He is and what He is like. Show me a veteran believer who "feels God's presence" but knows little about who God is (and is doing nothing to remedy his ignorance), and I'll show you a personification of Christianity's present shallowness. Label me judgmental, but I don't believe such a person loves God very deeply, no matter what they claim. Show me a believer who understands something of the nature of God and I'll show you a person who may or may not love God.
But at least there's a chance he does. Correct me if I'm wrong, but if we love God, won't we make the effort to understand who it is we love? How can it be otherwise? If you want to know about God, try meditating on His Word. (See Psalm 1 and Psalm 119.) Or delve into a little theologypick up a book by A.W. Tozer, for example. As you read the Bible, note things about God's character and dealings. If you're not much of a reader, you could listen to the Bible on tape and leave your radio set to WIWC (FM 91.7). Determine to attend church faithfully. You experience God by living life with Him, but you get to know about Him through studying His Word and becoming interested in who He is.
If you want to know Him, you must first learn ABOUT Him. It's impossible to love Him and yet not care about who He is. You wouldn't accept such logic in human relationships. You would call it nonsense, and you would be right. It doesn't make any more sense in our relationship to Christ either. Yet, out of fear of being called judgmental, we patiently swallow this nonsense. Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." He didn't bother to say what was so obvious it didn't need to be stated, "If you love Me, know what My commandments are!"
Reprinted from the May 2000 Body Builder, a publication of Highland Park Church.
Highland Park Church
516 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana, USA