(By CP Cartoonist Rod Anderson)
When you came into this world, you were born in God's neighborhood. You can only get into His family, however, by being born again into it. (see John 3:1-16) Your first birth was physical. The second birth is spiritual. Many people live and die without ever being born a second time. They live and die without ever knowing God.
As you have become older, you have heard some things about God. It's one thing to know about Him. It's another thing altogether to actually know Him. Knowing about Him involves only facts. Knowing Him builds on those facts as you enter a relationship with Him through faith.
Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. I know my sheep and my sheep know me." (John 10:14) He didn't say, "They only know about me." You know about many famous people, but how many of them do you actually know? There is a big difference.
The love of God is what changes everything. D.L. Moody said, "Napoleon tried to establish a kingdom by the force of arms. So did Alexander the Great, and Caesar, and other great warriors; but they utterly failed. Jesus founded His kingdom on love, and it is going to stand."
You won't know God until you are introduced to Him. The Holy Spirit would love to introduce you to Jesus. After meeting Jesus through faith, you start getting to know Him. And you also start getting to know the Father and the Holy Spirit.
Meeting Jesus is the only way to know all three Persons of the Trinity. You won't know any one of them without first meeting Jesus. You may wonder, "How can there be three Persons in One God? It doesn't seem reasonable." Well, it isn't reasonable to our natural way of thinking. You need sanctified reason. You only get that by meeting Jesus. Then the doctrine of the Trinity won't seem unreasonable. You will accept it then just like you accepted Jesus as your Savior. You will accept it through faith because God's Word says it is so.
Jesus did not come into the world to condemn you, but rather, to save you. (see John 3:17) He loves you. He would love for you to know Him and follow Him. If you come to know Him, you will want to follow Him. Until you know Him, you will only follow your natural instincts. Those instincts will never introduce you to Jesus. Only the Holy Spirit can make that introduction.
If Jesus had not died on the cross for your sins and mine, there would be no way that we could know God. Our hearts are too far from Him. Our natural desires are too inclined to ignore Him.
Sin within man hardens our heart toward God. It makes us run from Him rather than toward Him. It makes us self-centered rather than Christ-centered. Only the Holy Spirit can turn a man into a Christ-centered person. And God would love to do that for you.
"God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:4) Knowing God does involve certain knowledge. It involves knowing the truth. There are many false messages about God in the world. Those messages will not give you a relationship with your Creator. Those false teachings only lead people away from God rather than into His loving arms.
Stanley Grenz stated, "The postmodern worldview operates with a community-based understanding of truth. It affirms that whatever we accept as truth and even the way we envision truth are dependent on the community in which we participate. Further, and far more radically, the postmodern worldview affirms that...there is no absolute truth; rather, truth is relative to the community in which we participate."
Mortimer Adler said, "We may differ in our judgment about what is true, but that does not affect the truth of the matter itself." Whether you meet God or not, He will still be God, and you will still be in need of the Savior.
Once you meet God, you start to become in awe of Him. In his "Critique of Pure Reason," Immanuel Kant said there were just two things that filled him with awe – the starry heavens and conscience in the breast of man. Well here is a third one to add to that list. Knowing Christ places the awe of God in your heart. Nothing else compares to knowing your Creator.
Haydn, the great musician, was once asked why his church music was so cheerful, and he replied: "When I think upon God, my heart is so full of joy that the notes dance and leap, as it were, from my pen, and since God has given me a cheerful heart it will be pardoned me that I serve Him with a cheerful spirit."
When the river of God's living water gets inside you through faith in Christ, it changes everything. D. L. Moody once said, "I have been in some churches and have met a member as dry as a dry brook, with no spiritual life or growth, while right alongside of him has been one who was all the time bringing forth fruit. What is the secret? One was under the fountain and the other was not."
When the love of God gets inside you, others around you are able to sense that something is different about you. There is a peace and a love that are not of this world. That's just what God does for those who are in His family.
Sadly, many people don't want to be in His family. C.S. Lewis said that man has been heading in the wrong direction away from God for a long time. Perhaps you are on that path which leads away from Him. There is another path. There is another way. In fact, you were created by God to know that way and to know the eternal One who loves you.
While there is only One God, there are various counterfeits. The true God is loving and just. He is holy and merciful. You cannot contain Him, but you can know Him. Just think. The opportunity to actually know God.
So does that sound like something you are interested in doing today, tomorrow and forever?