(…continued) I entered college with a fragile faith. I had already read some things that challenged my meager knowledge of God. I wasn’t sure my faith would survive, nor was I even very concerned that it did. At that time, I probably would have reacted positively to the sign on that bus. ‘No god, no worries, have fun,’ would have sounded good to me.
I was at a Lutheran college and was required to take a couple religion classes. One of these classes included the reading of two books by Paul Little. The titles of the books were Know What You Believe and Know Why You Believe. After I read those books I knew something about God. I then had the knowledge that could handle some of the challenges and questions I was facing. My faith was then no longer blown away by a few simple objections, no more than my friendship with Charlie was destroyed by a single thoughtless remark. I was getting to know God, and faith was beginning to grow.
We all need to find ways to get to know God, with our hearts and with our minds—both are in Psalm 36:10: “Continue your love, O Lord, to those who know you, (head knowledge), and your righteousness to the upright in heart.”
Sunday worship is an essential part of one’s spiritual life, but it doesn’t give you enough of an opportunity to really get to know God. The Sunday service is a time for everyone of all ages and types to gather. But with everyone there at once, the content of the service has to be quite general in an attempt to speak to all.
But when you spend your own personal time with God, you can find something that speaks more specifically to you and your situation, and you can pray in your own words. You may already be already reading your Bibles and having daily devotions and prayer, but if you aren’t, I encourage you to find ways each day to get to know God better.
One way is to simply continue reading these daily meditations. This is a tool that can help you have a brief conversation with God each day. There is always a reading to give you some insights into the life of faith; along with both sides of the conversation with God. There are always two or three Bible verses for you to hear from God; and then, the words for a prayer you can say to God. And you can add to that prayer concerns or requests of your own.
A young man said to me, “How can you believe in a book like the Bible which is supposed to be God’s Word but has so many contradictions in it?” I said, “That is a very good question. We have some time to talk, so let me try to deal with those contradictions one at a time. Tell me the biggest one first. Of all the many Biblical contradictions, tell me which one is most troubling for you.” Pete got this puzzled look on his face, was silent for a while, and finally said, “Well… I can’t think of any right now.” I said, “Pete, do you mean to tell me you are carelessly disregarding gift the eternal life offered you in Jesus Christ because of all the contradictions in the Bible and you can’t even name one? Who told you there were contradictions? Did you ask them any questions, did you ask them to point out all the contradictions, or did you just blindly and dumbly agree? Folks a lot smarter than you, Pete, have believed in that Bible, so it is pretty foolish for you to abandon it for no other reason than that.”
Many people, like Pete, give up on God without knowing Him very well at all. Make sure you know God and that you know something about God so you don’t end up like Pete, throwing away your best hope for no good reason. We all have different priorities, of course, but one area that should be a priority for everyone, all the time, is getting to know God in whatever way works for you. Find the ways you can get to know God better.
I do not get to know God and then do His will. I get to know Him by doing His will. –Philip Yancey
Matthew 22:29 — Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
Mark 12:30 — (Jesus said), “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Ephesians 1:17 — I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
John 17:3 — Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
II Peter 1:2 — Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits thou hast given me,
for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me.
O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother,
may I know thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
and follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen.
–St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253)