“Then they will know that I am the Lord.” (Ezekiel 30:26b). I am reading through Ezekiel for my devotions right now. It is not a warm and fuzzy book, nor does it provide me much encouragement as I face many transitions in my life. Yet, this is the book that is next to read on my reading schedule, so I press on.
I read “Then they will know that I am the Lord” a few times the other day and it struck me. “How do I know the Lord?” How do I really know Him? I am continuing to meditate on this thought and answer this question in my own life. We have the standard Sunday school answers of read the Bible and pray every day, which are extremely important and definitely have a needed place in our lives. I feel like a part of me is missing when I do not spend time in Bible study/reading and prayer every day. These are definitely integral to a closer walk with the Lord and needed in order to “know the Lord.” For each of us, though, there is something more and I believe that something more may be different for each of us.
I love how the Holy Spirit works in our hearts in lives. When I asked myself “how do I know the Lord” the Holy Spirit prompted me with a few thoughts.
- “Put childish ways behind me.” (I Corinthians 13:11). When we go back and consider I Corinthians 13 and list the negative qualities of love, we see a list of childish behaviors.
- Envy (v. 4)
- Boastful (v. 4)
- Arrogant (v. 4)
- Rude (v. 5)
- Insists on own way (v. 5)
- Irritable (v. 5)
- Resentful (v. 5)
These behaviors are childish. Children are selfish and cannot see beyond the bubble of a world they live in. We have to teach our children how to share, be humble, have good manners, and be considerate of others. No matter our age, though, we still struggle with these negative behaviors. The more I put these “childish ways behind me” the better I will know my Lord. These negative qualities are a repulsion to my Savior. He still loves me, but it is hard to know a selfish person who thinks only of themselves. It is hard to connect with someone who is only focused on themselves and their needs. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24). These childish behaviors are not taught, rather they come quite naturally. In order to know our Lord, we must deny ourselves and put childish ways behind us.
- Let go of the past and forgive. Now isn’t this easier said than done? We have all been hurt at one time or another, but when we hold on to the weight of previous offences we are bogged down into a mire of bitterness. We cannot focus on knowing God if we are bogged down with the past. There is the tension of learning from the past, our past mistakes and the past offences of others, but we must not wallow in these events. Christ died for our sins. Why should we carry them around like a burden? Christ paid for that burden. The work of the past offences or past mistakes is accomplished in our lives. When a bone is broken a cast is needed for a specific amount of time. It is necessary to remove the cast once the bone is healed so the muscles can begin to strengthen again. Once the events of the past have taken place we must learn from them and focus on knowing God, allowing the muscles of our faith to strengthen.
Knowing God is a process. There is no perfect formula that once it is worked the perfect answer will appear. If that was the case, only one verse in the Bible would be needed. Rather God knew our needs and weaknesses as humans. He knew we would need lessons, encouragement, and hope written differently to assist in our growth.
I pray my goal is to keep knowing God, knowing who He is and modeling my life after His perfect character.
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12-14)