There is a tight connection between enjoying God and knowing God. Simply put, you cannot enjoy God unless you know Him. It is the basis of worship; it is the basis of enjoying God.
And it is obvious that there is a difference between knowing about God and knowing Him. Knowing about has to do with left-brained data, facts, figures, and biographical information. Knowing God has to do with awareness, familiarity—that feeling of being at home with God. It is the difference between resume and interview. It is the difference between a computer-matched date and marriage.
How then, do we get to know God? Not just know that He is infinite in size, infinite in power, and infinite in knowledge. How do we know Him?
We get to know God the same way you get to know anyone else—through long, leisurely conversations, through seeing Him in different circumstances and situations, through laughing together and crying together.
I want to suggest that we get to know God the same way you get to know anyone else—through long, leisurely conversations, through seeing Him in different circumstances and situations, through laughing together and crying together.
Of course, there is always a difference between getting to know God and getting to know a person. God is not a peer, and He does not have a body. These two things separate us from Him and make getting to know Him different from getting to know anyone else. These things can work for us or against us.
They can work against us in that, since He is not a peer, we feel intimidated and struggle to find common ground. We also struggle to relate to someone we can see or talk with on the phone.
But it is precisely because He is not a peer that He is able to help us. As C.S. Lewis says, “If we are drowning we do not complain that the man on the shore has an unfair advantage because he is on the shore. It is precisely because he is on the shore that he is able to help us.” ***get footnote** Peers cannot help us. We need God. Peers disappoint us. They may mean well (and sometimes they do not even do that) but they all disappoint us sooner or later. We need to get to know a God who can help us because He is not a peer. We need to rejoice in the fact that He is without peer.
And as for his bodylessness, this can work to our advantage as well. People who have bodies are necessarily trapped in their bodies. They must take their bodies with them wherever they go. As anyone over six feet who has traveled on an airplane can attest, this is not always as convenient as we might like. This also means that we can only be at one place at one time, because we cannot divide our bodies.
God suffers no such limitation. Because He does not have a body, He can be everywhere we are. We have never been anywhere that we could not cultivate a relationship with God, right there. When we are at work, at play, at McDonalds or at church, God is there waiting to get to know us. Whether we are in love with Him, indifferent to Him or mad at Him, he is there.
In a way, God does have a body.
In a way, God does have a body. He has given us each other to be the listening ear, the hug, the touch. People are, for this reason, at an advantage in trying to get to know God in groups. As the smut of sin is removed and the image of God is revealed, we see God in the body that is called the church. We get to know God by relating to Him directly, but also by seeing God in fellow believers. The Bible teaches that the image of God is in those people, albeit blurred. And it is our privilege not only to see the image of God in others, but to cooperate with Him in removing the smut, and allowing them to see God in us.
That is why it is hard for me to imagine believer who want to be close to God, but far from the church. I think it is hard for God to understand. But then, maybe not so hard to understand. Many churches don’t enjoy him or teach people to do so. Many ar full of condemnation, which has no place in Christian experience. It is not hard to see why people stay away from there.
But we miss a great deal when we stay away. The Christian life of the Bible was always tied in with church life. Believers always learned together how to enjoy God. They came to know him together.
You get to know someone through lavish times of informal, unhurried time.
How then do we come to know God? The Bible gives no formula, for there is no formula. One attempt might be, “hang out together.” You get to know someone through lavish times of informal, unhurried time.
People who know God well understand how every aspect of God’s character relates to every aspect of their life. They have slowly pondered each area of their lives as it relates to each aspect of God’s character. They have slowly pondered each aspect of God’s character and discovered ways it impacts each part of their lives.
They have thought about how God’s holiness effects their tax returns, the way they work, the way they play little league, the way they think about sex. They have thought about areas of their lives, like coaching little league and considered how God’s mercy, his grace, his justice and his righteousness comes to bear on that situation.
People who enjoy God don’t just think about these things; they worship God at every point. Thus, they come to know him.