Last week we started a new sermon series at church entitled “KNOW: Knowledge Fuels Our Worship.” Perhaps nothing has been truer of my own life in the last few years as that statement. A.W. Tozer once said, “The most important thing about a person is what comes to mind when they think about God.” So, what do you think?
Is He a sadistic, divine child abuser for subjecting His son, Jesus, to such harsh treatment by humans? Is He the aloof, cosmic watch-maker who set the world in motion and now stays out of its affairs? Do you see Him as a father? And even then, is your vision of God as father distorted because of your experiences with your own earthly father? Maybe when you think of God, you envision the loving compassionate “God of the New Testament,” or maybe you can’t get past the wrathful, justice-seeking “God of the Old Testament.” No matter how you slice it, God is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). In Him there is no shadow of turning (James 1:17). So it seems vital for us to move past our preconceived notions about God and strive to really understand His attributes, His nature, and what is revealed about Him in the Bible.
I have probably increased in my knowledge of God in the past few years more so than I had in my entire time as a Christian before that. That’s not to say that I have handled that knowledge correctly, or even been able to convey the truths I was learning clearly and coherently (right, metamorpha?). But the life of my mind has been invigorated in direct proportion to an increased understanding of who God is and, as a result, my affections for Him have been kindled greatly. In some ways this is both positive and negative. Positive because anything that pushes our worship of God to deeper levels is a positive thing (even if it may be construed from a worldly standpoint as a negative experience). Negative because, well, what took me so long?
I was reading another blog recently where this idea was expounded upon and it only made clearer the thoughts I was already having and also coincided nicely with our new sermon series at church. In it, the writer quotes John Newton (former slave ship captain and author of the hymn “Amazing Grace”) as saying, “Some knowledge of Christ indeed they [Christians] have, which is their differencing character from the world. How small a portion! That they know him a little, is plain, because they love him and trust him; but how little, is plain likewise, because their love is so faint, and their trust so feeble.” What Newton is (basically) saying is that the more we know God through His son Jesus, the more reason we have to love and trust Him. The less we know, the less we love and trust. And also that we have so much more of Him to learn because our love and trust is still so faint and feeble, thus proving we don’t know as much as we’d like to think.
As we move through the “KNOW” series, try to keep a few things in mind concerning our knowledge and worship of God.
- We all have some knowledge of God and thus experience some level of worship. Each and every one of us has the capacity to increase in knowledge and thus increase in worship. Some have a greater capacity than others, but don’t let that deter you from passionately seeking God. In the words of Philippians 3, press on!
- God can rightly be compared to the ocean in His vastness. You can be in the middle of the ocean and not see the shoreline or the bottom, as Spurgeon said, “In Christ’s finished work I see an ocean of merit; my plummet finds no bottom, my eye discovers no shore.” The Bible puts it this way in Romans 11:33, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” If any of us thinks we have God figured out completely, we have been blinded by our pride and created an idol for ourselves. God cannot be put in a box!
- To whom much is given, much is required. I condemn myself by having an increased knowledge of God and no practical life change to prove it. Satan knows God, even the demons know God, and yet they do not act according to their belief. We can learn things with our minds through study, teaching, and preaching, but we must rely on the ministry of the Holy Spirit to impart the grace to our hearts that we need to act. Otherwise our knowledge will be fruitless and only lead to judgment.
- We will only know God partially until our death or His return. Even then, God is an infinite being so we will spend an eternity learning more about Him. But it is in eternity that we will see Him as He is without sin or evil holding us back and our worship will be forever perfect in both spirit and truth. I believe that when we get to heaven, or when heaven comes to us, we will be amazed (perhaps embarrassed?) that we had such a small view of God while on earth.
Press on Christian and let your ever-increasing, though never complete, knowledge of God forever be the fuel that ignites your worship of Him and shine for Christ in a world darkened by unbelief. Remember, the most important thing about you is what comes to mind when you think