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Getting to know God
- Jacob Ninan
Jesus said that eternal life is to know God (Jn.17:3). 'Eternal life' is one without beginning or end, and does not refer to just living forever. Even those who go to hell will live forever, in terms of duration! 'Eternal' refers to the quality of life we now share with God, after we were born again. The more we get to know God, the more we shall experience and enjoy this life.
We know the difference between knowing about God and knowing Him personally. God has given us the opportunity to know Him directly and personally, as one of the privileges under the new covenant (He.8:11). Even though we know Him now as our God and Father, it is only as we spend more time with Him and interact with Him that we get to know Him intimately and deeply.
Is it only by spending long hours in prayer or reading the Bible that we can get to know God? Of course we ought to find as much time as possible for these, even at the cost of giving up some of the other activities sometimes. But for most people free time is in very short supply because of the usual pressures of life. God calls relatively very few people to leave earthly occupations and serve Him full time. But for the majority of us life involves work and many responsibilities inside and outside the house. Does that mean that we cannot get to know God as we ought to?
The secret is to throw away the idea that only things like reading the Bible and praying are spiritual. Everything becomes sacred when we hand it over to the lordship of Christ (1Co.10:31). When we are ready to eat and we give thanks to God for giving it to us and ask Him to stregthen us with it, it becomes an opportunity to talk to God. When we are about to go and meet someone for business and we ask God for grace and wisdom to handle things well, that is another contact with God. When we are perplexed about something and we ask God for guidance, we give God a chance to talk to us. When we do something well, it gives us an opportunity to give thanks to God for His help. When we can't understand what is happening to us or someone else and we ask Him, it is a chance for us to understand His ways and to see what He thinks about such situations.
So it is not just Bible, prayer and church meetings that can help us to know God, but the circumstances of daily life can all lead us to touch God. God tells us to acknowledge Him in all our ways (Pr.3:6). What does this mean but to bring God into all of our situations? "Pray without ceasing" does not mean that we have to be always praying but that our prayers should never cease (1Th.5:17). We can take everything to Him in prayer, and also we shouldn't give up (Lk.18:1). "In everything give thanks" also gives us so many occasions to connect with God (1Th.5:18).
So let's not grumble about our lack of opportunities anymore, but learn to seize them. Let us make God the centre of our life and draw near to Him at all times.