realizing we don’t know God, the passageway to coming to know God

I recently wrote a piece questioning whether or not we tend to have a diminished view of Christ and God. I can speak for myself in thinking I certainly do. Of course if any of us thinks they have a handle on knowing God, then we’re sorely mistaken.

It’s becoming helpful, and even life-giving to me to realize that I really don’t get it when it comes to knowing God. Of course we know God through knowing Jesus. When Jesus’s disciple Philip asked him to show them the Father, Jesus told Philip that whoever has seen him, has seen the Father.

I’m not saying that I haven’t known God at all through the years as a Christian. I take it by faith that I have. But our conception of God is often clouded, since we are so prone to making God somehow in our own image, or what we ourselves conceive God to be. Of course Jesus is both the image of humanity, and the image of God. Do we understand what it means to be fully human? Jesus is. Or to be God? Jesus is fully that. So yes, Jesus is human like us through and through, unlike us- unbroken in his humanity. And unlike us, Jesus is God, as God the Son with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. So in Jesus’s essential being, he is different than us, and will ever remain so.

And when it comes right down to it, we don’t really understand humanity all that well, much less Deity. People in the world are often at a loss to understand what humans really are. We know from scripture that relationships are essential in what it means to be human, as well as responsibility in significant works. But we still struggle over our own meaning. And we’ll never fathom the endless mystery of God. We share in something of God, being made in God’s image. But God remains God, while we remain human, albeit glorified in and through Jesus forever.

A key for me is to realize I just don’t have the knowledge of God in any way, shape, or form. I can’t figure God out by reading scripture, not even by looking at Jesus. That is something that remains mystery to us. The Spirit alone reveals God to us, even something of the deep things of God. But part of that is simply to realize that there’s no end to that; we won’t reach its end in the next life, much less in this one. And not that scripture and seeing Jesus in scripture is not important in this revelation from the Spirit, because it most certainly is.

The big takeaway for me that has emerged lately is that I simply don’t really know God, not well enough. Through that it’s beginning to dawn on me, something of the awareness of God. In and through Jesus.

 

you don’t know the real me (or maybe you do)

In a way this is neither here nor there, and is rather beside the point. After all, it’s not about us as in depending on us. And whatever good we have is a gift of which we’re stewards of. Everyone is a recipient of some special gift from God, and everyone in themselves is a gift as well. So that everyone is equally special in the gift they are and have.

At the same time we’re all flawed as well. We’ve all sinnned, and we’ve all lived in patterns of sin. For those who might doubt that, do you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind– with all your being and doing? And do you love your neighbor as yourself? We confess at our church every Sunday that we have not done so, but hopefully in the confession and forgiveness along with the cleansing which follows, we’re over time growing closer to fulfilling those ideals in becoming more and more like Jesus.

So in a sense we can understand each other since none of us are unique, sharing in the wonder of humanity, while also sharing in its flaws. Evil resides not only in others, but in ourselves as well. Yet we share in the goodness of being made in God’s image, an image which is marred and at times we might say broken because of sin. But also an image which is being restored through the perfect image of God, Jesus, even in our own humanity by grace through faith (and baptism).

Of course only God knows us through and through, plumbing the depths of us, of our hearts. God sees right through us in ways that others can’t, and certainly neither can we. We don’t really know ourselves, and yet in and through Jesus, we can begin to know ourselves through knowing God’s revelation in Jesus which shines its light on our sin, but helps us to share in that new light so that over time we are changed.

So yes, you don’t really know me. And I you, as if any of us could have a measure on others or ourselves. But in another general way we do. But in all of that, we want to get to know God in Jesus by the Spirit more and more. In so doing we will come to better understand ourselves and others. Even as we in Jesus together grow more and more into his likeness.