Summary: Part 2. Using Henry Blackaby’s "Experiencing God." We come to know God in a deeper way through experience as we step out in faith and follow his will.
What if the quality of your life is directly related to the quality of your relationship with God? Your satisfaction with life, your happiness, the quality of your relationships with other people, the ability to live a “good life,” a righteous or God honoring life, as well as intangible things like joy, peace, hope, what if all of this is directly related to your personal relationship with God?
Last week I gave you a quote to think about from Henry Blackaby, author of Experiencing God:
“Everything in your Christian life, everything about knowing Him [God], and experiencing Him, everything about knowing His will, depends on the quality of your love relationship to God.”
The closer we are to God, the more we know him and love him, the more we will desire to listen to him as he shares his game plan with us. Because we love him, we respond and follow his game plan. In sports, good coaches have a game plan before they start any game, they know their team, their strengths and weaknesses. They also know the opponents team, and so they come in with a plan to win the game. Life is not a game, but God does have a plan for our life and for the world. When we respond to God’s game plan and do things his way we experience God working in our life. That is basically the whole premise of this series, “Knowing and Experiencing God.”
Last week I concluded the sermon by asking us to think about what the quality of our relationship with God is like. If it’s going to effect every other area of our life, it is probably something we should think about (look at). Do you have a personal relationship with God, how close of a relationship is it? I gave us a few Biblical images to asses where we might be in our relationship with God; it could be like a servant to a king, a sheep to a shepherd (hearing God’s voice and follow where he leads), a child to a father, or a bride to a groom. All of these images are appropriate types of relationships with God, but God is trying to move us toward a closer intimacy with himself. Ultimately, like the Apostle Paul, we must admit that we aren’t there yet (Phil. 3:12), but even Paul said he was still striving forward as he said, “I keep working toward the day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be.” Paul made the choice to work toward knowing Christ.
If the quality of our relationship with God is going to help us in every area of our life, how do we grow closer to God? As Paul might say, how do we get to know Christ better?
Before we look at how we get to know God better, let’s begin with how you get to know a person better. Obviously the first way we get to know someone better or have a closer relationship with them is by spending time with them, being with them. It’s hard to know someone in a personal way without being with them in person (yes I know we have cell phones, text messaging, chat rooms on the internet, email and all that stuff). However just spending time with them doesn’t help us know them if they don’t reveal anything about themselves. You could be fishing or hunting buddies or be quilting partners for years with the same person or persons, and still not really know them at all if all you ever talk about is the weather or what you watched on television last night. “Yep, look at those clouds comin in, think we’re going to get rain?” What do you get to know about a friend with conversations like this, perhaps you get to know their preference for meteorology, but that’s about it. You might learn a bit about them by how they react in certain circumstances, but you don’t really get to know them.
Perhaps a good example of getting to know another person is like when you dated your spouse. You likely spent a lot of time together but you also spent time getting to know each other, you talked about what they liked, and disliked, what’s important to them, what their biggest fear and worries are, what their hopes and ambitions are, what they are good at, perhaps you even found out what their habits are. You got to know each other so well you could finish the other’s sentences for them because you knew what they would say. However even after you got married they would surprise you on occasion. Something would inevitably come up that you didn’t know about them, why? Because they hadn’t shared it. Which, by the way, is why I encourage couples to date at least a year or more before they choose to get married and commit their lives to one another, so they can get to know one another. We can only know a person by what they choose to reveal of themselves. The more experiences we have together, the more they share, the more we know who they really are, and generally speaking the closer you become. Are they honest or are they putting on a show?