Communion Starts with Knowledge
Every third Saturday of the month, a group of men from our church assemble to discuss theology. Using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology as our guide we plunge headfirst into various pools of doctrine. In one recent meeting, the discussion turned to the blatant lack of theology in many evangelical churches. We concluded that the evangelical community lacked a theologically rich knowledge of God. The focus, it seems, lies in our contentment with our well-being. We peddle the Gospel like we do essential oils - focusing on its benefits and long-term effects rather than on whom the gospel is all about. Sadly, few think deeply about God, and the reality that almost all in the group believed this is a bit troubling.
We cannot commune with God if we don’t know who he is. A marriage becomes stale when one or both spouses fail to persevere in learning about the other. In contrast, when spouses commit to growing in their knowledge of one another, a deeper communion develops. So it is with our relationship with the Lord. We will never foster a deeper communion with God if we do not pursue a greater understanding of who he is.
The Priority of Knowing God
Knowing God lies at the heart of our salvation. Jesus prayed to the Father in John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” To know God is eternal life. No one will be in heaven who did not know God during their earthly existence. We must know Him if we are to have eternal life. But this God who we know is also incomprehensible. He may be known, but not fully. We can never exhaust the depth of who He is. Therefore, we could spend the rest of our lives learning of His great name without running out of new knowledge. To know Him is eternal life, and our eternal life will persevere in an increased knowledge of Him.
Fostering a Knowledge of God
If knowing God is essential to who we are as Christians, then we must be increasing in our knowledge of Him. But how? How do we develop a greater knowledge of God? Let me propose three places to start.
Learn His Ways
Moses asks God an interesting question in Exodus 33:13. In the middle of petitioning the Lord for His presence when Israel enters the Promised Land, he requests that Yahweh would show His ways to him. Ways refers to a pathway or road. He wanted God to reveal the way in which God walks. He wanted to understand the way that God works in the world. This desire surpasses general knowledge. It is personal. It is intimate. It seeks to understand the way that God thinks.
Our avenue to learn of God’s ways is through His Word - through what He has chosen to reveal to us. We might learn about God by observing the creation around us, but we will never grasp God’s ways apart from His Word. We must be in the Word to learn His ways. As we learn His ways, we foster a greater communion with Him.
Seek His Face
Five verses later in Exodus 33:18, Moses boldly asked God to reveal His glory. He sought the Lord’s face. He knew that if He ever was to learn of God’s ways, God would have to reveal Himself to him. So must we seek God’s face. We learn of God through His Word, but we must seek His face - asking Him to open our eyes to see His glory in what we read. How often do you pray that God would open the eyes of your heart to a greater understanding of who He is? If we are ever to grow in our communion with God, we must first petition God to open our hearts to know Him.
Listen to His People
This third place might seem a bit different, but consider how important other believers are in helping us grow in our communion with God. Corporately, we are called to speak truth to one another in love (Eph 4:15). Surely, truth about who God is and how He works is part of the truth we are invoked to speak. God uses His word through the mouths of others to draw us into greater fellowship. God saves us into community; sanctifies us through community. Move past surface relationships with other believers and explore the vastness of who God is, together.