Knowing God Personally - page 4

 


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From the Summer 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Knowing God Personally

by Thomas A. Tarrants III,  D.Min.
Vice President for Ministry & Director
Washington Area Fellows Program, C.S. Lewis Institute

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Scriptures

  What then, are the main sources of spiritual milk that the Spirit gives to mature us in grace and help us know God more intimately? The Holy Scriptures are first. Communication is essential for knowing anyone, including God; and it is primarily through the words of Scripture that God speaks to us. These are God-breathed words that the Holy Spirit inspired holy men of old to record over the centuries, words that the Spirit now illuminates our minds to understand and empowers us to obey. The Scriptures are our only reliable source of knowledge about who God is; what He is like; what His will is; what His plans and purposes are; what He has done in the past; what He will do in the future; who we are; what life is all about; how we can know, love, and serve Him; what are the many promises He gives us; and how we can fulfill His purposes in the world. Accordingly, they are also God’s chief instrument for building our faith in Him. The Scriptures are God’s ultimate and final authority for what we are to believe and how we are to behave; they are our lifeline in this fallen world.

Prayer

  If the Scriptures are God’s main way of communicating with us, prayer is our primary way of communicating with Him. It is another essential means for knowing God better. Prayer has been well described as “an offering up of our desires unto God, for things agreeable to his will, in the name of Christ, with confession of our sins, and thankful acknowledgment of his mercies.”2 Often, however, “we do not know what to pray for as we ought,” thus we need the Holy Spirit to pray for us and to guide us in our prayers (Rom. 8:26).
  The Spirit’s normal way of guiding us in our prayers is by prompting us through the Scriptures to pray for things that are agreeable to the will of God and will be granted (1 John 5:13–14). This seems to happen more often when we are quietly listening for His word on a particular matter. The Psalms are called “the prayer book of the church,” because they give us so many examples of what to pray for across the whole range of life’s experiences. And the many promises of God throughout the Bible give us even more. As we walk with God through the ups and downs of life, lifting up our prayers to Him in faith and receiving His answers, our experience with God and our trust in Him grow. And, as the years pass, we develop a history of personal dealings with God that deepens our knowledge of Him, our faith in Him, and our love for Him.

The Church

  As vital as Scripture and prayer are, they are not enough. The church is meant to be a vital incubator for growing in the knowledge and love of God. The church was born at Pentecost through the Spirit-empowered preaching of the Holy Scriptures. The church is neither a building nor an institutional bureaucracy. The church is Christ’s body on earth, the community of the spiritually reborn, where God is worshiped, His word is faithfully preached, and baptism and the Lord’s Supper are properly celebrated. In the church, the Spirit empowers the preaching of the Scriptures, enlivens our worship and communion with the Father and the Son, deepens our bonds of fellowship with other believers, enables us to care for and minister to one another in love, and sends us out into the world on mission. And much more! This community of Christ is our family. In it we meet Christ in one another and experience His transforming power together.

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