Category: What is the key to truly knowing God?


  In all the New Testament incidences where the word submit occurs, the word is translated from the Greek word hupotasso. The hupo means “under” and the tasso means “to arrange.” This word and a root of it are also translated by the words subject and subjection. The word’s full meaning is “to obey, put under, be subject to, submit oneself unto, put in subjection under or be under obedience or obedient to.” The word was used as a military term meaning “to arrange troop divisions in a military fashion under the command of a leader.” This word is a wonderful definition of what it means to “submit” to God. It means to arrange oneself under the command of divine viewpoint rather than to live according to one’s old way of life based on a human viewpoint. It is a process surrendering our own will to that of our Father’s.

The Scripture has a great deal to say about being in submission to the “higher powers.” This has reference to the establishment principles that God has ordained in our world—the government and the leaders, in whatever capacity, that God has placed in authority over us on this earth. Passages that teach this principle are Romans 13:1-7; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14; and Titus 3:1. The principle is that being in obedience to the authority over us, whatever that authority is, will bring a temporal blessing in real time here and now and, for the believer, reward later. The highest authority is God, and He delegates authority to others; so, in order submit to God, we submit to the authority He has placed over us. You will notice that there are no caveats that distinguish between good or bad authority or even just or unjust authority. We are just to humble ourselves and obey as “unto the Lord.”

We are also told to submit ourselves to God (James 4:7). In Ephesians we read the wife is to submit to her husband as unto the Lord and the husband is to “love” his wife (Ephesians 5:22-25). The Apostle Peter writes, “Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble’” (1 Peter 5:5). The theme here is one of humility. One cannot submit to God without humility. Obedience requires us to humble ourselves to surrender to the authority of another, and we are told that God resists pride—the opposite of humility—and the arrogance that fosters that pride.

Therefore, having a humble and submissive heart is a choice we make. That means as born-again believers we daily make a choice to submit ourselves to God for the work that the Holy Spirit does in us to “conform us to the image of Christ.” God will use the situations of our lives to bring us the opportunity to submit to Him (Romans 8:28-29). The believer then accepts His grace and provision to walk in the Spirit and not after the manner of the old nature. That work is accomplished by choosing to apply ourselves to the Word of God and to learning about the provisions that God has made for us in Christ Jesus. From the moment we are born again, we have all the provisions we need, in Christ, to become a mature believer, but we have to make the choice to learn about those provisions through study of the Word and to apply those provisions to our daily walk.

We have to choose to submit to God for the process of learning in order to grow spiritually. It is a process begun at salvation and ongoing with each and every choice that we make to submit ourselves to God. This process will continue until the Lord comes again or He calls us home. The wonderful thing about this is that, as the Apostle Paul so aptly states, “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

God does not require us to submit because He is a tyrant, but because He is a loving Father and He knows what is best for us. The blessings and peace that we gain from humbly surrendering and submitting ourselves to Him daily are a gift of grace that nothing in this world can compare to.

All that God deemed essential knowledge for His children is found in His Word—the Bible. Beyond that, all truth is God’s. God has, however, revealed His truth to all humans in the things created (Romans 1:20) called general revelation, and in His written Word called special revelation (1 Corinthians 2:6–10).

There is a difference between “earthly wisdom” and the “wisdom that comes from above” (James 3:14–18). To tap into God’s wisdom, we must, first of all, desire it and ask God for it. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1:5). The next verse specifies that we must “ask in faith, nothing wavering” (verse 6).

We acknowledge that true wisdom comes from God and that Jesus Christ is the embodiment of that wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30). To trust in Christ and yield to His Holy Spirit is to walk in wisdom; as Christians, “we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Love of God, the greatest commandment, is also required. “As it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9–10; cf. Isaiah 64:4).

To have knowledge is to have understanding or information about something. To have wisdom is to have the ability to apply knowledge to everyday life. It is in the reading and understanding of God’s Word that we obtain knowledge, and meditating upon that knowledge brings wisdom. The longest chapter in the Bible is Psalm 119, which is all about gaining understanding and wisdom from God’s Word. Just a few verses are “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” (verse 97). “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (verse 105). “I will meditate in your precepts, and have respect to your ways. I will delight myself in your statutes: I will not forget your word” (verses 15–16). The word meditate is used five times in Psalm 119 and in various forms another fifteen times in the book of Psalms. Meditation is required to fully consider how to apply God’s Word in everyday life.

The book of Proverbs is full of wisdom. In that book, Wisdom calls for a hearing: “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? Repent at my rebuke! Then I will pour out my thoughts to you, I will make known to you my teachings” (Proverbs 1:22–23). The promise of Wisdom is that those who desire God’s truth can have it, but it requires giving up the world’s foolish mockery of the truth. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).

To have the “fear of the LORD” is to have an awed respect of who God is and a reverential trust in His Word and His character, and to live accordingly. When one is walking in the fear of the Lord, he or she is relying on God’s wisdom in the matters of everyday life and making whatever changes need to be made in light of God’s Word.

Those who have God’s wisdom will show it in how they live: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13).

In summary, to tap into God’s wisdom, we must diligently study God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:15), meditate on the Word, pray for wisdom, seek it with all our hearts, and walk in the Spirit. God desires to give His wisdom to His children. Are we willing to be led by that wisdom?

Everyone knows that God exists. “God has made it plain” that He is real, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). Some try to suppress the knowledge of God; most try to add to it. The Christian has a deep desire to know God better (Psalm 25:4).

In John 3 we read about a man who clearly wanted to know God better and who became more studied than most in the things of God. His name was Nicodemus, and he was a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews. This Nicodemus knew that Jesus had come from God, and he was truly curious to learn more about Jesus. Jesus patiently explained to Nicodemus how he must be born again (verses 3-15). In order to know God better, Nicodemus had come to the right person—“In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form” (Colossians 2:9). Jesus is indeed the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14). Jesus revealed God through His words and works. He even said that no one comes to the Father but by Him (John 14:6). If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus.

So, we must start with faith. The first step in knowing God better is to know Jesus Christ, who was sent from God (John 6:38). Once we are born again by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can truly begin to learn about God, His character, and His will. “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). By contrast, “the person without the Spirit . . . cannot understand [the things of God] because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (verse 14). There is a difference between the “natural” man and the “spiritual” man.

Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ.” It cannot be emphasized enough how the study of God’s Word, the Bible, is paramount to knowing God better. We must, “like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it [we] may grow up in [our] salvation, now that [we] have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2-3). God’s Word should be our “delight” (Psalm 119:16, 24).

Those who are learning more about God are also those who obey the command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Born-again believers always have the Holy Spirit, but Ephesians 5:15-21 teaches us to walk in the Spirit and surrender to His will.

Prayer is also an important part of knowing God better. As we pray, we praise God for His character and for what He has done. We spend time with Him, relying on His power and allowing the Spirit to intercede for us “through wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).

Also consider that one can get to know God better by fellowshipping with other believers. The Christian life was not meant to be lived alone. We learn more about God through the preaching of God’s Word and the godly counsel of those who walk with Him. Make the most of your church experience, get involved, do small-group Bible study, go witnessing with fellow believers. Just like a log ablaze on the hearth soon goes out when it is removed and placed aside, so we will lose our fervor for God if we do not fellowship with other believers. But put the log back into the fire with the other logs, and it will burn brightly again.

To summarize how to get to know God better: 1) Accept Christ as your Savior. 2) Read His Word…it is alive (Hebrews 4:12). 3) On an on-going basis, be filled with the Holy Spirit. 4) Seek the Lord through prayer. 5) Fellowship and live out your life with the saints (Hebrews 10:25).

Within all of us there exists a strong desire to be known and to know others. More importantly, all people desire to know their Creator, even if they are not professed believers in God. Today we are bombarded with advertising that promises many ways to satisfy our cravings to know more, have more, be more. However, the empty promises that come from the world will never satisfy in the way that knowing God will satisfy. Jesus said, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3).

So, “what is the key to truly knowing God?” First, it is imperative to understand that man, on his own, is incapable of truly knowing God because of man’s sinfulness. The Scriptures reveal to us that we are all sinful (Romans 3) and that we fall well short of the standard of holiness required to commune with God. We are also told that the consequence of our sin is death (Romans 6:23) and that we will perish eternally without God unless we accept and receive the promise of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. So, in order to truly know God, we must first receive Him into our lives. “As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). Nothing is of greater importance than understanding this truth when it comes to knowing God. Jesus makes it clear that He alone is the way to heaven and to a personal knowledge of God: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6).

There is no requirement to begin this journey besides accepting and receiving the promises mentioned above. Jesus came to breathe life into us by offering Himself as a sacrifice so our sins will not prevent us from knowing God. Once we have received this truth, we can begin the journey of knowing God in a personal way. One of the key ingredients in this journey is understanding that the Bible is God’s Word and is His revelation of Himself, His promises, His will. The Bible is essentially a love letter written to us from a loving God who created us to know Him intimately. What better way to learn about our Creator than to immerse ourselves in His Word, revealed to us for this very reason? And it is important to continue this process throughout the entire journey. Paul writes to Timothy, “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:14-16).

Finally, truly knowing God involves our commitment to obey what we read in the Scriptures. After all, we were created to do good works (Ephesians 2:10) in order to be part of God’s plan of continuing to reveal Himself to the world. We carry the responsibility to live out the very faith that is required to know God. We are salt and light on this earth (Matthew 5:13-14), designed to bring God’s flavor to the world and to serve as a shining light in the midst of darkness. Not only must we read and understand God’s Word, we must apply it obediently and remain faithful (Hebrews 12). Jesus Himself placed the greatest importance on loving God with all we are and loving our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22). This command is impossible to keep without the commitment to reading and applying His truth revealed in His Word.

These are the keys to truly knowing God. Of course, our lives will involve much more, such as commitment to prayer, devotion, fellowship, and worship. But those can only follow making a decision to receive Jesus and His promises into our lives and accepting that we, on our own, cannot truly know God. Then our lives can be filled with God, and we can experience knowing Him intimately and personally.