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The complexities of knowing God

He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD requires of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?  (Mic 6:8)

At the end of the day, knowing God is not part of some deep secret that has been hidden from us. In fact God not only clearly demonstrates who He is through the world around us (Romans 1:20), but He also states clearly in His word how we can know Him.

While Micah 6:8 bears witness to the fact that we can walk with God, Genesis 3 show that at one time God had enjoyed walking with man. The wonderful truth is that not only were we made to walk with God back then, but today we can also do so. Besides Adam, Noah and Enoch both had this testimony, that they “walked with God” (Genesis 5:24, Genesis 6:9).

So what must I do to be able to commune daily with the King of Kings; My God, the One who spoke and the world was?

Mat 22:36-40

  1. Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
  2. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
  3. This is the first and great commandment.
  4. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  5. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

1 Peter 1:16 reminds of the need for holiness while Hebrews 12:14 tells us that without holiness, we shall not see God. Furthermore, Matthew 7:21 tells us that only those who do the will of the Father will enter heaven.

In light of the above, Jesus’s answer demands some time and meditation as the eternal consequences of these two laws are great.

So how complex are these instructions and what do they really mean?



Thayer defines this love of people as follows, “to welcome, to entertain, to be fond of, to love dearly”. It is from this word that “agapē” used in 1 Corinthians 13 is taken. In short the expression of my love for God is borne out by the following being evident in my life

1Corinthians 13:4-8

  1. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
  2. or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;
  3. it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
  4. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
  5. Love never ends.

Love the Lord

There is no way that I can love our Lord if I am self-seeking. That is why Jesus says in Mathew 16:24 that if we (His disciples) wish to follow Him that we need to deny ourselves. This is because in hating what He hates and loving what He loves, we realise like Paul, that “in us dwells no good thing” (Ro 7:18). In realising the separation caused by sin and the price that was paid to redeem us from it, we will desire to decrease, that He may increase (Joh 3:30).

The real challenge for me here is, “What do I love?” It’s easy to say that I love Jesus but what do I really love? What is my greatest hope, my greatest joy? What do I treasure? Mathew 6:21 says that my heart will be found where my treasures are. He then goes on to talk about light and riches and that what I see as light may indeed be complete darkness. If the Lord is not my first love, I will find myself led astray, walking in darkness.


Thayer: all, whole, completely

What a powerful word. There are no half measures with God. We are either with Him or we are against Him (Mat 12:30). Irrespective of what we claim or do, we either know Him or we don’t (Mat 7:21-23). On the Lord’s side, His commitment was equal to what He requires of us; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Joh 3:16) and Isaiah 53.

Heart, Soul & Mind

While “All” ensures that no part of our life and being is left out, “Heart, Soul & Mind” gives us framework with which to examine ourselves.

Kardia (Heart)

Thayer Definition:

1a) that organ in the animal body which is the centre of the circulation of the blood, and hence was regarded as the seat of physical life
1b) denotes the centre of all physical and spiritual life
1c) of the middle or central or inmost part of anything, even though inanimate
2a) the vigour and sense of physical life
2b) the centre and seat of spiritual life
2b1) the soul or mind, as it is the fountain and seat of the thoughts, passions, desires, appetites, affections, purposes, endeavours
2b2) of the understanding, the faculty and seat of the intelligence
2b3) of the will and character
2b4) of the soul so far as it is affected and stirred in a bad way or good, or of the soul as the seat of the sensibilities, affections, emotions, desires, appetites, passions

Does my love for the Lord form the centre of my entire life? Does it leave me full of life and ready to seize the day?

psuchē (Soul)

Thayer Definition:

2a) the seat of the feelings, desires, affections, aversions (our heart, soul etc.)
2b) the (human) soul in so far as it is constituted that by the right use of the aids offered it by God it can attain its highest end and secure eternal blessedness, the soul regarded as a moral being designed for everlasting life
2c) the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death (distinguished from other parts of the body)

Does my very being sing for joy to the living God (Psalm 84:2)? Am I gripped by the reality of eternity and that forever I will be with Him?

Dianoia (Mind)

Thayer Definition:

1) the mind as a faculty of understanding, feeling, desiring
2) understanding
3) mind, i.e. spirit, way of thinking and feeling
4) thoughts, either good or bad

Do I understand what it means to love Him, and His love for me? (As an interesting aside, the mind is listed last. What is sad is that I so often put my mind first which is a sure formula for failure as it takes me out of the realm of faith and keeps me bound in the secular.)

Love your neighbour as you love your self

And how do I know where I stand? Matthew 7:20 puts it well, “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”

According to Thayer, Christ’s definition of our neighbour is “any other man irrespective of nation or religion with whom we live or whom we chance to meet.” In the same was as Christ reached out to me, I need to reach out to those around me. It is not just the people that I like, that know or that I am comfortable to associate with. Never forget that it was while we were sinners, lost and enemies of God that He died for, and chose us (Romans 5:8).

While living in Christ means that life is no longer all about “Me”, it doesn’t mean that I don’t love myself, or that I see myself as valueless. Yes it is true that “in me dwells no good thing” (Romans 7:18) but that was before Christ; in Him I am a “new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The reality is that I can stand strong in the fact that God has chosen me (John 15:16), that He knows the number of hairs on my head (Mathew 10:30) and that He loves me (John 3:16). He is longing to be reunited with me in glory one day (Mathew 25:21,23 and John 14:3). In fact if I (in Christ) don’t value myself or the life that He’s given me, I will not be able to fulfill the second part of Jesus’s commandment to love my neighbour.

These two commandments are inseparable. If I don’t love my neighbour, I can’t say that I love God. And if I don’t love God there is no possibility of me being changed into His image, of me knowing His heart or of me being able to love the world around me. It is only because of my foundation on Him that I can reflect His light, purpose and meaning into the world in which we live (what message does my life really radiate?).

Finally, Knowing God is not complex. It’s so simple and obvious that all that is needed is a child-like faith (Mathew 18:3). What is more God does the calling and all of the work? All that I need to do is hear, listen and act. The closing question is, “Does the natural fruit of my life true reflect that I know my God?”