I am often asked what I believe is the ONE thing that is needed to solve the terrible condition we find ourselves in today. My answer to this question identifies both the problem and the solution for everything we are currently facing in society. In fact, my answer is not just for our country but for the entire world.
D. Martin Lloyd-Jones summed up my answer in one sentence.
The problem with the world is we don’t know God!
That’s it in a nutshell. We don’t know God! This isn’t only true for society in general but, unfortunately, it is also true for today’s church. Of course, this isn’t anything new. God identified this problem when He described the condition of Israel.
Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, for the Lord brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: there is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land. Hosea 4:1 (NKJV)
When God says that there is no knowledge of God in the land, the land refers to the nation of Israel — His people. I am convinced that this is the problem in today’s church as well. God’s people do not know Him!
God’s Word tells us the consequences that His people will face when they don’t know God. In verse 6 of this same chapter of Hosea, we see that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. The lack of knowledge that God is referring to is knowledge of God.
The prophet Isaiah records another consequence that will result from God’s people not knowing Him.
Therefore, My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge. Isaiah 5:13 (NKJV)
Here, again, we find that the lack of knowledge is related to knowing God. What type of captivity results from not knowing God? Paul warns us about this in his letter to the church in Colossae.
Beware lest anyone cheats (takes captive) you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8 (NKJV)
The captivity that God’s people find themselves in because they do not know God is one of false beliefs and ideas. By being taken captive by false worldviews, people think and act in ways that go against God’s Word. This is where the church finds itself today. Christians have been taken captive by a secular, man-centered worldview and, therefore, have lost their influence in the world.
If not knowing God is the problem, what is the solution? It is simple — we must know God! I am not talking about simply knowing about God. This takes place by merely accumulating head knowledge about Him. What is needed is for God’s people to know Him. The difference is like night and day.
One of the best pictures of this has to do with dating and being married. While I dated my wife, I learned a lot about her. When we became husband and wife, I knew her — we became one flesh. I wouldn’t trade years of only knowing about her for one day of knowing her.
Here are four reasons why I am convicted more and more about the importance of knowing God as the true measure of living the Christian life.
Knowing God was His motive behind creation
God didn’t need any aspect of creation to become more God. However, He created the world as an expression of who He is and did it for His glory. God wanted to be known (see Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:20)!
Man was created in God’s image in order to know Him
Once the created world was in place, God created man in His image. Man is the only created being that has the capacity to know, love and worship God. Jonathan Edwards once wrote, God’s last end in creating the world is the creature’s [man’s] knowledge of Him. For this is the end of all other knowledge.
God redeemed fallen man so that man can, once again, know Him
We know that Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection paid our sin debt and gave us the gift of eternal life. However, eternal life is regaining the capacity to know God and, thereby, give Him glory (see John 17:3).
God desires our knowing Him more than religious sacrifices
This theme of knowing God is found in all of Paul’s prayers for the churches he started. He continually prayed for Christians to increase in their knowledge of God (see Ephesians 1:15-17; Colossians 1:9-10). God’s highest priority for His children is that they know Him (see Hosea 6:6).J. I. Packer understood the importance of knowing God to every individual when he stated,
Once you become aware that the main business you are here for is to know God, most of life’s problems fall in place of their own accord.
Jonathan Edwards emphasized the need to know God by writing,
Of all the knowledge the two can ever obtain, the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of ourselves, are the most important…He who does not know Him [God], knows nothing else as it truly is.
If the root to all of the problems that this world finds itself in is not knowing God, then knowing God is the only solution to these problems. This also means that the most important knowledge that we must give our children through their education is the knowledge of God. If our children and youth learn great amounts of other knowledge but do not know God, their education is in vain.
Finally, let me share with you some results that would take place in our lives if we were to know God more each day. J. I. Packer notes these results in his book, Knowing God.
- Those who know God have great energy for God. (see Daniel 11:32)
- Those who know God have great thoughts of God. (see Daniel 4:6; 9:4,7,9,14)
- Those who know God show great boldness for God. (see Acts 5:29; 20:24)
- Those who know God have great contentment in God. (see Romans 5:1; 8; Daniel 3:16-18)
As you start a new week, how will you answer these questions?
- How well do you know God?
- What priority have you placed in your life of knowing God better each day?
- How does knowing God impact your life when it comes to marriage, parenting, work, government, voting, etc?
- What priority does knowing God have in the education of your children/students at home, church and school?
We need the body of Christ to have the same attitude that Paul had.
But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ… Philippians 3:7-8
I end with the words by Dr. S. M. Lockridge.
That’s My King! Do You KNOW HIM?