Developing Experiential Knowledge of God

in Global Harvest

 

 

 

 

By Ryan Shaw

The New Testament is constantly exhorting the people of God to encounter Jesus, draw near to Him and experience His truth in and through our lives. We were never meant to merely grow in intellectual knowledge related to Bible stories and themes, apart from the divine truths and principles of those stories being proven and made real in our lives.

There is a great gap today in the body of Christ between our intellectual knowledge about God and His ways and our experiencing the truths of Him and His ways in our own lives. This is a major reason so many have become disillusioned with God.

Paul and Peter talked a lot about “knowledge” in their writings, yet the implication in the original language is never of merely gaining head knowledge. Instead, we apply the truth of that knowledge to our circumstances and situations, thus “experiencing” it ourselves.

It is common, even among professing believers, that God is just an idea. We have tended to substitute doctrine for experience. Instead, God wills that the Bible lead us to God as we experience God and the truths of His Word in everyday circumstances.

We are not simply to become excited about what God did in the lives of Biblical characters. Instead, we are moved in faith to see the embodiment of the divine principles governing their lives experienced in our own situations.

God wants to take us through many of the events we read about in Scripture. He knows that going through various like circumstances allows us to experience Him and His promises in a very real way, applying truth in a definite way.

The truths of the Word of God are not spiritually profitable unless they are internalized, applied, tested and proven in the fire of real life experience with God. When they are proven in this way, a believer soars with confidence that God is real and can be trusted in every unique situation faced.

Let’s look at an example. In 2 Peter 1:3, Peter writes, “…as His divine power has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue…”

Through God’s divine power, realized through the sending of His Son as the redemptive sacrifice for all, God has provided a complete inheritance for every son and daughter of God. Part of that inheritance is the overwhelming fact that “all things pertaining to life and godliness,” have been already “given to us.”

Every divine resource needed for every situation and circumstance we face has already been made available. It is already ours because of what Jesus has accomplished. Yet many believers are not yet living in the light of what has been provided.

In each circumstance faced we have a role in the process. The New Testament uses different words and phrases to reveal how to do so: “lay hold of the promises;” “appropriate God’s promises;” “receive by faith;” “draw on God’s power.” These are all referring to the same truth.

In our verse, Peter exhorts us to make the truth that God “has given to us all things for life and godliness” real in our situations by experiential knowledge that He is ready to do so.

God is full of mercy and loving kindness, delighting in every person committed to walking in the ways of God. This is true whether we feel that sense of delight or not.

He has gone before us and made every necessary divine resource available to the people of God. All that could ever be needed in practical situations of life as well as in growing in our lives in God, is readily accessible.

There is a banqueting table of resources set for every believer to tap into related to the circumstances and situations we each face.

They are not dispersed automatically, however. Through prayer, active trusting in God, adoration and communion worship, intercession in line with His revealed will, reminding God of His promises, drawing upon His divine power and active waiting in faith, we bring the already available divine resources out of the spirit realm and into the realm of our natural circumstances.

We want to experience God as the God who answers prayer; who fights our battles; the God of the impossible; who tangibly leads and guides; moves hearts; defeats the evil one; delights and favors His children; is a strong tower; is a present help in time of trouble; financially provides and sustains; who releases revelation to know Him in ever increasing ways.

The only way to make Scriptural truth our own is to be a “doer” of His Word. Hearers only never receive the divine resources needed to have experiential knowledge of God. Throughout Scripture the blessing is not in its hearing (sitting in church services week after week) but in its doing, its application.

Jesus distinguished between knowing and doing in John 13:17. He had just washed His disciples’ feet and He is teaching them to do the same thing. He tells them, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Many have not applied biblical truths, thus not experienced their truth, though we “know” them to be true doctrinally.

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