Lesson 32 • Knowing God
Some people who call themselves followers of Jesus tell other Christians that God always wants them to be healthy, wealthy and materially prosperous. This is not what God’s Book says that life will be like for His children. God wants His children to be wealthy and prosperous in Him (Ephesians 1:3), but not necessarily in material ways (1 Timothy 6:6-9; James 2:5, 6). Some Christians will never be wealthy in worldly goods. We shouldn’t become Christians in order to become rich. God is sovereign and He decides to whom He will give earthly riches (e.g. Abraham and Job). It is not a sin to be rich (1 Timothy 6:17, 18), but if you don’t become rich know that God has a better possession for you in heaven! God can do what He pleases (Psalm 135:6) and He loves to heal people and do good to them (Matthew 5:45; Matthew 7:11; Matthew 9:35). But God is more interested in His relationship with you and in your sanctification (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
God’s main aim is that you get to know Him better each day (2 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 3:18). If God must take away your health and wealth for you to know Him better, and to create His image in you, He will do it (2 Corinthians 12:7-10). Do not resist Him. God wants us to grow in our knowledge of Him. The Apostle Peter said: ‘That we grow in the knowledge and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ The Apostle Paul, who wrote large parts of the Bible under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote the following when he was in prison about 2000 years ago. He probably had no material possessions with him when he wrote this: ‘I count all things as loss for the exceeding greatness of knowing Jesus Christ my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I might gain Christ’ (Philippians 3:7, 8).
Paul knew how to be rich and to have nothing; he knew a lot about suffering for Jesus Christ’s sake (Philippians 4:11-12). In all his sufferings he knew that the greatest thing in the world is to know God—and to be in a right relationship with Him. Imagine you find an island full of different treasures – gold, silver, diamonds and precious jewels and everywhere you look you find new gems of exquisite beauty. And then you realize it is all yours because you were the first to discover it. To know Jesus should be like that (Matthew 13:44-46). Believers will spend eternity discovering new and grander facets of His perfections and the wonder and excitement of knowing Him will keep us busy forever. Knowing Jesus is not a means to an end, He is the end – a glorious end (Rev 5:12-13; 7:10-12).
If we look at creation, the different varieties of peoples, planets, birds, sea and land creatures, then we see something about God’s creativity. Looking at the complexity and ingenuity of creation itself helps us to see the Creator at work and the being He is. But creation is not part of the Creator as some believe. Just as a motorcar or computer a person designed and created isn’t part of the essence of the person. In the life of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross we see the brightness of God’s glory and the immensity of His love for us (2 Corinthians 4:6). To know Jesus Christ through the agency of the Holy Spirit by faith is to know the meaning and purpose of your life. To know Jesus and all His divine attributes and Excellencies should be the journey of our earthly lives and the destination of eternity. It will take eternity for us to know the riches of the glory in Jesus Christ. Eternity may not even be enough!
Command to consider: Jesus said that if you want to be His follower you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily (endure suffering) and follow Him (Luke 14:27). That is the condition of getting to know Him better and therefore remaining in a right relationship with Him. God receives glory when we willingly suffer all for His glory (2 Corinthians 4:17, 18; Philippians 3:10, 11).
Read: Ephesians 1:3; 1 Timothy 6:6-9, 17, 18; James 2:5, 6; Psalm 135:6; Matthew 5:45; 7:11; 9:35; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 2 Peter 1:2; 2 Peter 3:18; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Philippians 3:7, 8; Philippians 4:11, 12; Matthew 13:44-46; Revelation 5:12-13; 7:10-12; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 17, 18; Luke 14:27; Philippians 3:10.