July 31, 2020
A few months ago, my wife and I made a new Spotify playlist with songs by Fred Rogers. He was a classic American musician and puppeteer. The songs in the playlist were from his show, “Won’t You Be My Neighbour.”
At first, I was just ignoring the lyrics, since the songs were made for kids, but then I noticed specific lines in the songs that sparked greater interest in me. This led us to read more about him and the stories behind his songs, making us reach the conclusion that the show was indeed revolutionary.
The same can be said about our knowledge of God.
Growing up in a religious culture, many of us have a certain level of knowledge about God. However, while most people may have an idea about God, not everyone knows Him in the way that He wants to be known by us.
We sometimes think that we already know everything about Him—or at least that we already know Him enough. The truth is, we will never come to a point where we can say we have enough of Him. But here’s the good news: It is possible for us to know Him in a relational way.
If you’re not too familiar with God and want to know Him deeper, here are some practical ways that you can know Him.
1. Through Nature
Have you ever looked at something so beautiful yet so complex?
Recently, I was reading articles about how people used to believe that the earth was the center of the solar system. This led me to a discovery that—guess what—the sun is not even the center of the solar system! Well, just approximately close to the center, but not really.
I realized yet again how our solar system was perfectly fine-tuned to support life on earth. I was both perplexed and amazed with how everything operates so perfectly. This led me to a deeper appreciation of who God is.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
Sarah Salviander, who has a PhD in astrophysics, was an atheist. But her careful study of the universe led her to God. According to her, the universe was rather too elegantly organized to be an accident.
Dr. Salviander says:
“In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’”
Everything in the cosmos is telling us that they are not just random things that float in space. The planets and the stars in the entire universe are visible proof of God’s invisible attributes. Their message is “the glory of God.”
What this means to us is that we are inside a museum of God’s handiwork. The more we look intently at His creation, the more we know and enjoy Him. So the next time you watch a documentary about space, animals, seas, or anything else in creation, be excited to know more about the Creator who made them.
2. Through Human History
Not only can we know more about God through His creation; we can also know Him more through the narrative of human history.
From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.
God marked the appointed times in history. He was and is always in control of everything that happens in the world.
Yes, every event that takes place in the world, whether good or bad, serves a purpose: to point the entire creation to God. This doesn’t mean that God initiates wars, famines, and global cataclysms just to reveal Himself.
In a world broken by sin, suffering and death are bound to happen. Yet God uses these things to reveal Himself to us. Just like how the shadows prove the sunshine, the sufferings in this world highlight the hope that only God can give.
Every event in world history, even this coronavirus pandemic, leads to a deeper knowledge of God and the fulfillment of His ultimate plan for the world: the renewal of creation and the establishment of His kingdom.
3. Through the Bible
In this era of fake news and disinformation, the best way to verify truth is to trace its source. The same is true in Christianity. If you want to know who God is, the number one source is the Bible. The words in the Bible are God’s words delivered by human writers whom God used.
Knowing God personally can’t be achieved just by secondhand information or hearsay. We must directly hear from Him through His word. The words were “breathed out” by God, directly proceeding from His mouth.
All Scripture is breathed out by God . . .
2 Timothy 3:16
The challenge, however, is that most people find the Bible boring or difficult to understand. This is understandable, especially if you’re not too familiar about the Bible’s general idea or storyline.
In a nutshell, the Bible is a compilation of 66 books written by different people throughout different periods in history. It starts with how God created the world, but Satan entered creation and destroyed it. Because of this, God initiated a plan to restore His entire creation and defeat Satan by sending Jesus Christ into the world. The last book of the Bible narrates the victorious ending to this ongoing narrative, where Satan will be ultimately defeated and the world will be restored according to God’s original design.
The “mini-stories” in this narrative overflow with wisdom and inspiration that we can apply in our daily lives. If you want to start reading the Bible but you don’t know where to start, flip to the book of Mark in the New Testament. This will give you a snapshot of Jesus’ miracles and His mission on earth.
4. Through the Church
There’s an aspect of God that can be known by being in the community of believers. The Church is not the building where people worship; it is God’s household, referred to as Jesus’ body.
If you want to know God deeper, be connected to His family. If you want to understand how God works, become a part of His body.
The great thing about knowing God is that we don’t have to do it alone. God has built His Church for that very purpose.
I have two kids and they are so fun to be with. But, most of the time, it is only half the fun when my wife is not with us. This is because there are things that they only do or say when their mom is around. This means that I get to know them more when I am with my wife.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching . . .
The first generation of Christians devoted themselves to God’s word because this helped them know God more. But they did not just do it individually; they did it together.
See, the early church did not only seek God together, they shared to others what they received from God together.
God also designed the Church to overflow His different attributes to the world. Jesus told the disciples that the way people would know Him is through their love for one another.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
That is why knowing God more through the Church is essential not only for Christians but also for those who don’t personally know God yet. As William J. Toms famously said, “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.”
5. Through Jesus Christ
Ultimately, the way we can know God is through His Son, Jesus.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power . . .
God has reached out to us through different means, but the best way to know Him truly is by knowing Jesus.
The universe and His creation reveal to us His power and glory. World events tell us of His sovereignty and wisdom. His word points us to Jesus Christ.
Through Jesus, God reveals to us His character, His nature, and His love for us.
The more we know Jesus, the more we know God’s heart. Jesus’ birth, His perfect life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection reveal to us God’s perfect love for humanity.
Not only that, but the more we know Jesus, the more we see the truth about ourselves. That we have chosen to ignore God and to rebel against Him. Instead of seeking and knowing Him, we chose to pursue a life of sin.
But Jesus paid for our sins on the cross so we might be reconciled to God. This reconciliation brings us back to a relationship with Him, a relationship that was once broken by sin.
I invite you today to know God in a deeper way. He is way more interesting than how some people describe Him. You’ll be surprised at the many ways He relates to you and at the love He so lavished upon you! Knowing God deeper is always worth it.