Do We Know God for Who He Really Is?

Someone recently told me of a gift sent by a friend of her family’s. Though she appreciated that this person thought of her, the gift revealed how much the giver didn’t really know the receiver.

Of course, we don’t always the hit the nail on the head even with those closest to us. I try to always get gift receipts just in case something isn’t right, even if I bought the gift from a link the recipient sent to me. Sometimes we thought we saw the person admiring that item, only to find they considered it and decided against it. Sometimes faulty memory or understanding leads to poor choices. Sometimes we make an educated guess that falls flat.

But usually the better we know a person, the better we are at choosing just the right gift for them.

There are other ways we reveal how much we know another person. I’ve heard myself and my motives described in ways that make me wonder what led the speaker to those conclusions.

Some years ago I read a greeting card for a husband to a wife that was meant to be humorous. The card had several cartoonish drawings of things the husband got wrong with short captions. At the end, the card declared, “I may get all these things wrong, but I sure do love you, honey!”

But blissfully saying, “I love you!” is undermined when one’s actions display a lack of thought or consideration. Yes, we all fail each other sometimes, and need to be forgiving and forbearing. Yet there’s a difference between occasionally letting each other down and a whole lifestyle that shows either blatant ignorance of what pleases the other person or a lack of care.

Truly getting to know someone as they really are takes lots of time together: time talking, doing things together, observing one another.

It’s the same with God. “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3). Yet so often people describe God in ways the Bible does not portray Him. Or they live out their lives the way they think He wants them to, without finding out for sure what He said.

If we don’t know God for who He really is, the results are more serious than a well-meant but inappropriate gift. We’re in danger of creating a god in our own image, according to our likes and dislikes rather than His. And if eternal life is a matter of knowing Him, then not knowing Him is a matter of eternal death.

We’ll never know God as completely here as we will in heaven, but we should be continually growing in our knowledge of Him and in our own transformation into His likeness. He’s given us His Word. Though it’s relatively short, compared to all the things He could have told us, it contains just what He wants us to know.

The ESV Study Bible notes in one of its appendices:

The Bible is God’s written revelation of who he is and what he has done in redemptive history. Humans need this divine, transcendent perspective in order to break out of their subjective, culturally bound, fallen limitations. Through God’s written Word, his people may overcome error, grow in sanctification, minister effectively to others, and live abundant lives as God intends (p. 2507).

Throughout the Bible, God says that people worship Him with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him. Let’s not just blissfully express our love to Him without regard for who He truly is and what He truly wants. Let’s make it a priority to spend time with Him in His Word and prayer and get to know Him more and more for who He truly is.

 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:14-15

Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD. Hosea 6:3a

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

For further reading: How to Know God.

(Sharing with Inspire Me Monday, Tell His Story, Purposeful Faith,
Let’s Have Coffee, Share a Link Wednesday, Faith on Fire, Grace and Truth)

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13 thoughts on “Do We Know God for Who He Really Is?

  1. I received a lovely gift a few weeks ago that really is fitting for me, but I really just don’t need it. It’s caused me such struggles! I don’t know if I should try to find where they bought it, regift it to someone else, or just put it in the closet. ha. I love your analogy that the more we know God, the better we can give him appropriate gifts. “We should be continually growing in our knowledge of Him and in our own transformation into His likeness.” Amen.

  2. This, right here, Barbara, hit home for me –>’Yet there’s a difference between occasionally letting each other down and a whole lifestyle that shows either blatant ignorance of what pleases the other person or a lack of care.’

  3. This is a great post, Barbara! We do need to take time to get to know God more as he really is. I’m reading Jen Wilkin’s book None Like Him, which reflects on several of God’s characteristics and I am finding it really helpful.

  4. Such wisdom in this. I think so much of our sin is corrected by purely worshipping Him and spending time in His Word, though we often think the only way to be corrected and worship Him is through self analysis, certain choices, and other things. I also love your point that His Word is relatively short compared to what He could have said! Makes me smile. Thank you!

  5. Oooh yes! I want to give God appropriate gifts – what a great analogy, I love the way you’ve put this. Thank you for this great post!
    x Anastasia | MightyMemos.com

  6. You often have new ways of thinking about things, and I really appreciate that! Such good points that the closer we grow to God, the better we’ll know Him …

  7. Teaching kids this week, I’m impressed over and over again at all the ways in which Jesus tried to show his disciples (and others) who he really was. Miracles, his knowledge of God, and even of their own thoughts at times seemed to go right over their heads.
    And I so often miss the point as well.

  8. Great post, Barbara. We did a bible study and one night’s lesson was totally on the God that we create for ourselves rather than knowing God for who He really is. A very interesting study and very convicting.

  9. Barbara, thank you for stopping in and sharing your link at Woman to Woman! ♥ I love how you put this. May we love God so deeply that we know Him so well. And may knowing Him so well deepen our love.

  10. Knowing and understanding God is something we should continually strive for, but know that we will never completely achieve. As with gift-giving, it helps to know the person receiving the gift, but it also helps to think about their desires. God has desires for each of us. If we listen very carefully, He will whisper them to us.

  11. When we know who God is, we will be in such awe of Him and what He’s done for us – and we’ll be that much more willing to give Him all of ourselves. Thanks for sharing your post on Grace & Truth.

  12. Pingback: End-of-July Musings and a Blog Anniversary Giveaway | Stray Thoughts

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