Do You Know God?
- June 20, 2017
- Houston Clark
In his magnum opus, Knowing God, J.I. Packer argues: it does not necessarily follow that if you know about God, then you know God Himself. This makes sense. I know a lot about Chris Paul, but I don’t really know him (granted, I have met him on 3 separate occasions); however, we’re not “boys” or even acquaintances. A speaker in middle school asked us, the youth group; are you friends, dating, or married to Jesus? Corny, I know; however, are you friends, dating, or married to Jesus? In other words, how well do you know this guy?
A friend of mine was just telling me about how he had spent the first 25 years of his career building his kingdom in Jesus’ name instead of seeking Jesus first. It wasn’t until the last 5 or so years, he said, that he started seeking Jesus first. What’s so cool, he went on, is how God has given him what he first set out to do; to run a business and mentor young Christians in business, but all while seeking Jesus first. This guy spoke as if he knew God. He talked about God’s word as if it was real. I could almost taste the joy on his lips. The cynical side of me wants to dismiss that as super-spiritual dog treats, kind of just thrown in as a small token of God’s appreciation for obeying Him when instead the reality is that “if you (disciples/future-followers of Jesus) love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Therefore, keeping Jesus’ commands is loving Him. That’s crazy. We do not love Jesus by waiting around until we feel love towards Him. We love Him by doing what he tells us to do. Of course, doing what he tells us to do is a lot harder than it seems.
Pause for a just a second. What if we sought God when deciding where to go to college? Instead of the “prestige,” the job prospects, whether or not it has good sports teams, how far away it is, we asked ourselves; where can I be most able to obey His commands? I’d say that there are few college campuses where the prospects of obeying God’s commands are so bleak that you shouldn’t go there (take Duke for example), so go wherever you’d like. I guess filtering your decision through the obedience filter might not affect where you finally end up at all; however, I think starting with such a question and attitude is radically different to a God-honoring degree. Perhaps this is what I am trying to nail home: what if we started giving up stuff in an effort to obey God. I just think much joy awaits those that do.
I love Cornell West. There, I said it. I’ve got a huge man-crush on this guy. He’s super smart, loves Jesus, and has such a gift of hospitality as a speaker. He’s truly remarkable. If you have never heard of the man and/or never listened to any of his stuff, I’d suggest you listen to this lecture (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwPCJ9WpH7E ). I think he provides a palpable picture of knowing God. His human spirit oozes a heavenly one. I think to relegate his charisma as just that and nothing more does not do the spirit that not only lives, but lurks inside of him, justice. He truly is a remarkable man, one of which I think the spirit of God Himself has had run-ins with on many occasion. I’m not saying that in order to know God, we must be Cornel West, but I am saying that we should imitate him. Who wouldn’t want that? If in looking more like Cornell West, we look more like our Savior, I’ll take that. That’s just what Paul said when he wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
Do you know God? I urge you as I urge myself, seek Him and check out Cornel West!