If you ask me whether I know my wife and I respond in obvious contempt of your idiotic question, “Of course I know my wife.” “Well, tell me about her.” “Lindsey is great. She’s 5’9 and ¾”, has blonde hair that has gotten progressively darker with each kid, and has bluish/green eyes. Any more questions, punk?”
You be the judge: do I know my wife, or do I simply know about my wife? It certainly doesn’t sound like I spend time pursuing her, talking with her, giving her quality time, and on down the list of what it takes to truly know someone.
Now, if I ask you whether you know God and you respond in obvious contempt of my idiotic question, “Of course I know God. He’s great. He created the world and all that is in it. And He gave us the 10 commandments.”
If your response to that question is anything like that simple example—in other words, if you just give me facts about God—why would I think that you know God?
It is entirely possible to be around the church, in the services, singing the songs, taking communion, and nodding along (or nodding off) to sermons and know fact upon fact about God, but, in the end, not actually know the God of the Bible in a relational way.
As I’ve prepared sermons recently and done my own devotional reading of Scripture, a particular theme has been recurring. It’s actually more of a question: namely, do my actions conform to my convictions? Am I living a life of integrity in relation to my beliefs? Do what I say and do match up with what I confess?
This variation on a theme is haunting me at present. It could be that I’m more aware of the vapor-like quality of this earthly life and the reality of giving an account for how I have stewarded this life is more real than ever. Whatever it is, it’s coming up in every study, every sermon, and every prayer.
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth (1 John 3:18). There has to be a movement from the head to the heart and hands. When we love one another we serve as conduits through which God’s saving love meets people where they are (1 John 4:12).
God help us be a loving people who love people where they are for who they are.