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Lacking in the knowledge of God
- Jacob Ninan
When Paul wrote to the Corinthians he said that some had no knowledge of God (1Co.15:34). The context was people questioning the resurrection with doubts like how people were going to be raised and the kind of body they would have (v.35). There is nothing wrong in wanting to know such things, but if we are overly occupied with such issues it may indicate that we do not have a working knowledge of God. If we know Him personally we would be taken up with Him, and lesser issues will not be in the focus of our mind.
But what do we see among Christians today, even so-called leaders? A very unhealthy fascination with fringe issues. We know that God has absolute power in Himself to do what He wants (Ps.115:3;62:11). But when some people read that God spoke and things got done, they move their focus from God to His words, and they assume that God's power is in His words (and not in Himself)! They now begin to teach that when we speak, our words also have power to make things happen!
We know of the woman who believed that if only she would touch even the helm of Jesus' garment she would be healed (Mt.9:20,21). Some people jump to the conclusion that it was the helm that healed her! Then they write and teach about how the Jewish leaders had tassels on their garments and prayer shawls and begin to sell such shawls so that people can touch them and be healed!
Some people took handkerchiefs that had touched Paul and carried them to sick people to heal them (Ac.19:12). Don't we have people now who sell handkerchiefs that had been 'prayed over'?
Some people say they need to have a picture in their mind when they pray to God. We can list many things like this, like walking around a place like the children of Israel did around Jericho and expecting 'walls' to fall down, blowing a ram's horn (shofar) from the city hills to bring down favour from God, selling 'holy water' to anoint the sick, 'sprinkling the blood of Jesus' around the rooms or houses, sleeping with a Bible under the pillow to ward off bad dreams, etc., which are all indications of people missing the point. They are trusting in things and practices rather than directly in God. If they had a true, mature relationship with God, would they need to follow such schemes?
We know that anything that we 'worship' in the place of God in our life becomes an idol for us. The examples we have given here are not such idols. If we are engaged in these practices we believe we are doing them according to the will of God. But the fact is that in following these practices we are putting our focus on them rather than on God. Our dependence is transferred from God to these practices. For example, instead of asking God to do things for us, we think if we speak the right words we can get things done. This is one of Satan's tactics to mislead us.
If we know God directly and we have regular transactions with Him, would we need symbols and rituals to relate to Him?