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Getting to the heart of God
- Jacob Ninan
We Christians get into a lot of unnecessary problems in personal life and inter-personal relationships because we do not know God well. We start with a lot of pre-conceived ideas about God, and even when we search the Scriptures to find out what God says about something we mess things up because a) we ignore what the Bible says when we don't like it, b) we squeeze Bible verses into our own mould, c) we take verses out of context, d) we take verses independently apart from what other verses say, e) we take verses strictly according to the letter without understanding the spirit, f) we don't wait on God and try to understand what He is trying to say, etc. (Jn.5:39,40).
We must remember that God is spirit, and He is trying to convey spiritual truths through the limited medium of written words. We know that even in human communications words alone are not often enough to convey the true meaning, without taking in the tone of voice, the expression on the face, gestures, body posture, etc. We can imagine how limited mere words are in conveying spiritual truths, even in a book such as the Bible. When we believe that it was the Holy Spirit who inspired the writers of the books of the Bible, isn't it good for us to seek Him out to reveal to us the ideas which He has tried to convey through the words (2Ti.3:16;2Pe.1:21)? Spiritual truths can only be understood spiritually (1Co.2:14).
Even if we use cross references, concordance, commentaries, dictionary, Hebrew and Greek lexicons and writings of many scholars and godly men, we can go only to a certain extent in knowing about the character and ways of God. It is good to understand the exact meanings of the verses so that our faith can rest on accurate knowledge of the truth (Ac.17:11). It is also good to learn what God has revealed to godly men who have known Him. But is this anything like getting to know God personally and directly? Isn't that one of the privileges of all children of God under the new covenant (He.8:11)?
In order to experience that kind of knowledge, a few tips may be in order. a) Take the attitude of a learner and sit before God humbly, saying, "Lord, here I am. Reveal Yourself to me. Show me Your paths and teach me Your ways" (Ex.33:18;Ps.25:4). Acknowledge that we could be wrong in some of our understanding and be willing to change. b) If we cannot get the answer to some of our questions, let us not force an answer but wait for the right time. c) Look beyond the words and see what God is saying, and why. Get to know the heart of God. Don't limit God to mere words. d) Listen to the Holy Spirit who brings to our mind other verses that support or contradict what we believe (Jn.14:26). e) Make sure that we are willing to obey whatever God tells us (Jn.7:17). f) Check what godly men have to say on the subject to make sure that we are not running wild.
God is much bigger that His word. Let us reach out to Him (Jn.5:39,40).