To Know God (Prayer Devotional for the week of September 20, 2015)

Is knowledge enough to get us through life? I would argue that it is not. Let’s use an example that is near & dear to me, since my eldest just got his license: driving a car. You can study the handbook provided by the DMV office; you can memorize every motor vehicle regulation in your state; you can even get practice on a simulation machine. But, any of you who already have your driver’s license know that none of those things compare to actually getting behind the wheel of a vehicle and driving yourself.

 

Why, then, would we expect our spiritual lives to be any different? Simply attending church now & then or saying, “Bless you” when someone sneezes is not the same as having a genuine relationship with Christ. On occasions when I’ve had the chance to share my faith, I can remember several times when someone would respond, “Yeah, I believe in God.” Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but James 2:19 tells us that even the demons believe that much, and they tremble in fear at the name of the Lord. In fact, Luke 4:41 goes so far as to say that the demons even understand that Jesus is the Christ! They know everything they need to know about the Lord, so what’s the problem?

 

Just believing in God and even believing that Jesus is the Messiah is not enough. That knowledge has to make a journey from your brain to your heart. Romans 1:21 is a good example – it says that although the people knew God, they neither gave him honor nor thanks. In other words, the knowledge was all in their heads, and not in their hearts. The Common English Bible translation puts it this way: “their foolish hearts were darkened.”

 

God wants us to know him, and not just know about him. You know the difference … think about your spouse and/or your very best friend. That person really knows you; in fact, he or she probably knows what you are thinking before you even say a word. They don’t just know facts about you, but they know your heart. God has written us a very lengthy love letter, and he wants us to know his heart.

2014 Word

I’ve finally figured out what my word is for this year: Set.

As in: On your mark, get set … go!

I don’t quite know what the “go” part looks like yet, but the past few years have been building up from “on your mark,” and now I feel like it’s time to “get set” and wait for the launch whistle.

dolphin kickI remember years of swim meets — my main race was backstroke — and hearing the announcer call out: “On your mark!” We would pull up into a loose crunch position on the board. “Get set!” and we’d pull up tighter and hold, legs quivering in anticipation to launch. “Go!” then thrust up and backward into the water, hands entering first, then head and arced body already rippling in a dolphin-kick motion. I would go about halfway down the length of the pool underwater before I came up for air. A few strokes later, it was almost time for the flip-turn. Count strokes from the flags overhead, then flip and twist, kick off from the wall and launch back toward the other side.

Competitive swimming was exhilarating and challenging … kind of like how my life has been for the past several years, now that I think about it. The loses were tough. Miscounting strokes and charging head- or shoulder-first into the wall was really painful. And yet, touching the finish line a fraction of a second before any of the others is a rush like nothing else I can describe. Knowing that you gave it your all … and you won … is amazing.

This year has a lot of potential. Lord willing, I will finish my doctorate in just a few short months. It’s possible that I may also have a new job opportunity(ies) later this year, but that remains to be seen. The majority of my kids (3/5) will be finished with elementary school this year. I’ll have TWO teenagers. I’m renewing my efforts to lose weight and stay healthy. Who knows what else the future holds? Whatever comes down the pike, I’m going to “get set” and be ready to fly.