The God I am Willing to Know…


Contributed by Shannon Perkins, wife of Russ Perkins, Elder Overseer of Communities at Image Church

“This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”  (John 17.3 – NLT)

I submit that there are only two kinds of people in the world… those who need to know God and those who need to know Him better.  The good news is that God – the Creator who spoke the heavens into existence, the One who breathed life into being, the Sustainer who holds everything together — makes Himself known to man! The bad news is I don’t always take Him up on His offer.

In the sixth chapter of John’s gospel, Jesus describes Himself as the “Bread of Life”.   His audience was familiar with the provision of manna for their ancestors while they were in the desert, despite their misconception that it had come from Moses.  (Jesus rightly pointed out that, like the Bread of Life, the manna actually had come down to earth from God in heaven.)  As the Bread of Life, Jesus’ offering was eminently more valuable than the temporary sustenance provided in the past or the physical food this crowd came seeking that day.  Jesus offered … Truth Itself… nourishment for the empty soul that would enable the spiritually hungry to know God! Sadly for those who would ultimately choose to view Jesus as just the benevolent son of a carpenter, this truth would be too hard to swallow.   The crowd, unwilling to acknowledge their spiritual lack and their very real need for a Savior, would not come to know Jesus as anything but a momentary meal ticket.  They were only interested in the temporal…in filling their bellies.  To address the eternal need — to personally know God– would be too costly.  They simply were not willing to know God as The Bread of Life…so they walked away.  However, others in Scripture were willing.

In order for Abraham to know God as The One Who Provides, he had to give up his most prized possession, raising a knife to the son of promise whom he loved.  Could Ruth have known God as Kinsman-Redeemer apart from being brought to a place of utter destitution and complete dependency? (Ruth 1-4) For David to know God as a “very present help in time of trouble” (Ps 46.1), he actually had to need help in a time of trouble.  For Hagar (Gen. 16) to know “the God Who sees,” she had to come to grips with the fact that no one else did.  How could Jeremiah experience God as “Comforter in sorrow,” unless his own heart had fainted within him? (Jer. 8.18)  If Peter had not left everything…job, home, future how could he truly call Jesus “Lord” of all?  (Matthew 19.27)  How could John the Baptist recognize Jesus as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” apart from seeing himself as unworthy? (John 1) Lazarus had to experience death in order to know Jesus as “the Resurrection.”   (John 11.25) One woman had to bleed for twelve years in order to know Jesus as Healer. (Mark 5) Paul had to consider everything he trusted — his lineage, his academic accomplishments, even his religion – as garbage in order to know Christ alone as Righteous. (Philippians 3.8) These are only a few examples of the costs involved to personally know the only true God. 

So, how about me?  Am I willing know God in the way He wants to reveal Himself to me?  This is a question I’ve been pondering for quite some time.  Am I really willing to know God as Comforter?  Most likely, then, I will have to endure suffering.  Am I willing to know God as a Friend of sinners?  Then I not only have to admit I am one…I may also have to reach out to another.  If I am to know God as Refiner and Purifier, most certainly I will have to rid my life of internal and external impurities…displeasing attitudes, words and actions.  Knowing God as Lord will, by definition, require submission of every area of my life to His control.  Coming to know God in the new and fresh ways He desires to reveal Himself will cost me…that is certain.  But the value of knowing Him will far exceed that cost.  After all, as He was with Abraham back in the beginning, God Himself will also be my Very Great Reward. (Gen.15)


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