Knowing the Lord
Let the sage boast no more of his wisdom
nor the valiant of his valour,
nor the rich man of his riches!
But if anyone wants to boast, let him boast of this:
of understanding and knowing me.
For I am Yahweh, I rule with kindness
justice and integrity on earth;
yes, these are what please me
How can you say that you are a Christian?
We see here that the most important thing for a Christian is for him to understand and know God. A person who attends or conducts thousands of Christian seminars does not automatically make him a Christian. Neither does someone who gets into debates on Christian doctrine mean that the person is a Christian. Neither does a person who contributes thousands to the church mean that the person is a Christian.
A Christian is someone who understands and knows God. He is someone who knows the will of the Lord and does what pleases God. To know the will of the Lord is only possible through prayer. I am not talking of the memorized prayers but a prayer of quiet where we allow the Lord to minister to our souls. In a human relationship, both parties involved need time together to get to know each other.
One thing I observed in Canada is that superficially, people tend to be friendly. You meet strangers on the road and they greet you and ask you how you are. For them, this is almost an automatic thing - something they do through habit. There was interaction between the two persons but the interaction was superficial so there was no depth in the relationship. This is similar to our reciting memorized prayer. If our prayer life is composed only of memorized prayer, our life in the Lord will not grow.
If you look at a husband and wife relationship, you can see that through the years of staying together each one knows what makes the other tick and what irritates the other. Because of the intimacy of the relationship, you do not even have to say a word to know what the other wants. Sometimes a raised eyebrow or a seemingly unconscious act reveals a lot to the other person.
The same way with our relationship with the Lord. The more time we spend in interacting with him, listening to him, the more we get to know him. And the more we we get to know him, the more we will be able to do what he wants.
There are several stages in a relationship with the Lord. The first stage is superficial. This is knowing that God exists without knowing who he is. The second stage begins when we surrender our lives to the Lord. This will begin a hunger for the word of the Lord. The person begins to read scripture and listen to teachings on the Word. A person's growth will depend on what he is being fed at this point and who is feeding him.
Jesus said that no slave is greater than the master. Whoever is the preacher, he cannot be greater than the Lord. Therefore if a Christian is to grow in his faith, he should be fed by the Lord himself. True, we have to listen to preachers - because of their wisdom. True, we have to read books that have been inspired by the Spirit. But eventually, it is the Lord who knows what we need so that we will grow. It is the Lord who will eventually have to feed us to make us grow.
I am saddened when I see people who have made a commitment to the Lord for many years already and still are very shallow. These people are content with just listening to what others have to say about the Lord. And that is why they don't grow - because they cannot be greater than their teachers. What makes this worse is if the teacher is himself shallow.
The only way to know the Lord is by spending quality AND quantity time with him. Just as a husband and wife get to develop an intimate knowledge of each other through years of listening and paying attention to another, so should our relationship with the Lord. We can only grow in our faith if we pay attention to him by prayer - listening to him humbly. There is no other way. There is no short-cut to knowing the Lord except through prayer. And the objective there is to unite our will to his will so that we can indeed be able to see all things in God.