Jeff Bartell

A "bottom line" kind of guy

Do you know God?

Do you know God? Often, we undertand that question to mean, “Have you received Jesus as your Savior?”  That’s how Jesus used it in Matt 7:23.  I want to pose the question in the context of continuing to know Him more and more as life goes on.

We work at developing the relationships that are really important to us.  Most obviously with your spouse.  Over the years you know your spouse so well that you know what they are thinking before they have to say anything.  You know what their opinions are on many issues, because you have talked about them, you have heard their thoughts, you have made important decisions together based on those core values.  The two of you are truly one.

So let me pose the question again, only this time a little differently.  How well do you know God? Do you know what He thinks about many issues?  Do you know what He plans to do before He does it (concerning many of those issues)?  What does He love?  What does He hate?  Have you made decisions together based on these common values?  Could you effectively share them with others so they could know Him too?

There are many people that truly love God and know a lot of things about Him.  They go to church, they read Christian books, they listen to Christian radio, they are good people.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they really know Him on that deep, personal level.

There are many others that are highly gifted at building a ministry.  They have real skill at crafting an attractive message, advertising it in a contemporary, relevant way, wrapping it all around a key theme, developing a clever mission statement and generating excitement and energy with music and fun activities.  These are all truly valuable skills.  I am not discounting them.  I am currently trying to learn to be better at them day by day.  But there is a difference between building a ministry and knowing God.

What is (sadly) often viewed in our current culture as “old fashioned” is actually as contemporary, relevant and cutting edge as it has ever been.  It is this:  You cannot really know God in a deep, personal way apart from a solid, thorough knowledge of His word, the Bible.  The Bible is the very mind of Christ (1Cor 2:16).  Literally, it is God’s SOUL!  (His BODY is the church and His SPIRIT is the Holy Spirit)  The soul is the part that has the mind, will and emotions.  It is the “real you”!  So how can we possibly really know God apart from His soul?!

How are you getting to know God better today?  Are you reading His word?  Are you studying it?  Do you know what He thinks about current events, social issues, politics, the economy, the future, missions, family values, personal conflicts, etc?  Do you make decisions together with Him based on your common value system and understanding of these issues?  If we really love Him, it will be manifest in our personal zeal to know Him better through the one and only means He left for us:  His word, the Bible.

Accept no substitutes!  There is still coming a day when we get to meet Him face to face!  I don’t want to be “surprised” to find out that He is Somebody different than I thought He was.  Neither do you.

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