Do You Know Him?

Most people – Christian or not – would say they know God. Our English word “know” can mean a number of different things. A majority of people would say, “I know God.” Unfortunately most would be referring to knowing ABOUT HIM, not really knowing Him.  God wants more than His creation knowing about Him. Adam and God communed together. God has always wanted a close, intimate relationship with man. And now, through Jesus, that fellowship is available again – and even more!

It’s really sad that we’ve come to be satisfied with a level of intimacy so far below what Jesus provides. And believe me, I’m not judging you, because I’ve been in the same boat. There have been a few times in my life when I finally got dissatisfied enough to do something about it. I think I’m at that place again.

I read once of a married couple who were cruising along a familiar street when suddenly they were passed by another vehicle. As the other car pulled away the wife quipped from the passenger seat, “Did you see how close they were sitting together? Why don’t we sit close like that anymore?” It was quiet for a moment, after which the husband replied, “I haven’t moved.”

Well, we can be assured that God hasn’t moved either! [Malachi 3:2; Hebrews 13:8] But through Jesus He has opened the door to a kind of fellowship beyond all we could ask or think. If we’re born of God we are both qualified and capable of enjoying communion like this every day, in good times and bad.

Jesus defined what our attitude toward God should be when He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [Matthew 22:37-39] For one thing, loving God is assessing Him great value in your life. And notice that Jesus ties together loving God and loving others. Plus, He tells us the criteria for loving is “as yourself.” To me that means if I don’t see value in myself, I won’t see it in anyone else either.

Are you recognizing, as I am, that truly knowing and loving God requires that I truly know myself? By “truly knowing myself” I mean knowing who I am in Christ and who He is in me. Having taught biblical truths for almost 40 years now, I’m aware of lots of scriptures about who I am in Christ. I’m becoming aware also that knowing where the scriptures are found or even quoting them won’t get it done. It’s my heart-level awareness that counts. What do I down deep, passionately believe about myself? If there are discrepancies on this level, loving myself, others and God are all affected.

Thank God there are ways to change our heart-level awareness! There’s no time or space to share them all here. Let me emphasize one very important one – meditation. Meditation is a wonderful tool we’re all equipped with. Here are three verses that laud its importance:

Psalm 1:1-3 –   Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Purpose to meditate – meditate on purpose! See yourself, even innately experience yourself to be as God says you are!

How’s Your Heart?

Romans 10:8-10 But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

There are two phrases that I’d like us to take note of here: “believe in your heart” (verse 9) and “with the heart one believes” (verse 10). From the time I first started studying the Bible (not just reading it), I became interested in the subject of faith. Obviously “faith” and “believing” are the same thing. To “believe unto righteousness” (verse 10) means having faith for being made right with God. But faith for healing, deliverance, peace, and so on come from the same place.

One cardinal rule about faith is that it must be “heart faith.” Agreeing with the Bible mentally is a start, but the type of faith that moves mountains is settled deep in our hearts.

King Solomon exhorts us to guard our hearts, for out of them come the issues or boundaries of life. [Proverbs 4:13] Heart faith is what we need.

Agreeing mentally could be called “head faith.” The problem with head faith is that it won’t sustain us through the challenges of life. When we try to take a strong stand against sickness, for example, “head faith” wavers. In James chapter one we’re told that the person who wavers won’t receive anything from God. This is not a case of God holding out on us, but rather a case of doubt. “Wavering” and “doubt” are usually translations of the same Greek word.

That brings us then to “heart faith.” The “heart” here is not merely an organ in our chest that pumps blood.  “Heart” represents the center of our being. It’s a combination or link between our spirit and our soul. [I Thessalonians 5:23] Everything that has affected us emotionally over the span of life seems to get stored here. Painful experiences from the past can inhibit our ability to truly believe God at this heart level. We may agree mentally, yet disagree from our heart, and this “faith” produces nothing. But “heart faith” got us born again, and this same “heart faith” is what will receive healing, deliverance, peace or whatever God’s word promises us.

The question becomes, then, what are we going to do with the painful experiences in our hearts that have stymied our faith? The definition of faith given in Hebrews 11:1 gives us the information we need.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Bible faith – the God-kind of faith – requires EVIDENCE! Gather enough evidence to persuade your heart of the principles and promises of the Bible. Where will this evidence come from? First and foremost from the Word of God. II Timothy 3:16 tells us that the Word is profitable for “reproof.” The Greek word translated “reproof” is the same as the one translated “evidence” in Hebrews 11:1. So we could say it this way: “The Word is profitable for evidence.”

Evidence also comes from what we see – not with the natural eye, but with our spiritual eye. In II Corinthians 4:17, 18 we’re instructed to look at the things that are NOT seen. Joshua was told by God to SEE that He had given Jericho into the hand of the Israelites. This “seeing” is a type of meditation. We can meditate – see ourselves – already enjoying the benefits of the promises of God, before there is any manifestation. Our senses may bring opposing evidence to us in the form of pain, symptoms, etc., so we have to gather more to overcome that opposition.

One last area (for this article) is the area of words. The words we hear spoken, especially the one coming out of our own mouths, become either positive or negative evidence. Proverbs 18:20, 21 relates that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Choose the right words and persuade yourself toward life!

Well, there’s much more to be said on this subject but this is as good a stopping place as any. I suggest you study this out for yourself, because the just shall live by faith – heart faith that is!