Knowing God – in your own words

Since the beginning of May, most of our Sunday morning services have followed a series entitled Encountering God. The aim of this series has been to explore different ways in which we can connect with God, developing a relationship with him. This is often expressed as “knowing God personally”.
We’ve considered the following topics –

  1. Living with God
  2. Meeting God in Scripture
  3. Talking with God (prayer)
  4. Listening to God through the creation
  5. Hearing God through other people
  6. Seeking God in silence
  7. Sensing God’s presence
  8. Wrestling with God
  9. Walking with God

Now that we’re approaching the end of this series, I would be really interested to hear people’s views on this topic.
Most of us wouldn’t have seen or heard God with our physical senses, so what do we mean when we speak of knowing God personally? Is this language that you would choose for yourself? In your experience, is knowing God personally even possible? Whatever your personal story, it would be great to hear a little of your experience and the extent to which you feel “in touch” with God. What do you think we can or should aspire to as Christians?
Please offer your thoughts by adding a comment to this post!

Jonathan Burton

5 thoughts on “Knowing God – in your own words”

  1. Being raised by loving Christian parents I have always believed that Jesus is the Son of God our Heavenly Father. As a teenager I attended the church youth club and youth home group but it was all head knowledge with no personal commitment. I was just at these meetings to have fun with my peers.
    From 1978 to 1985 I had nothing to do with Church or Jesus and tried to find fulfilment in life through Karate, Beer, and Possessions.
    I was working with a Christian colleague, Steve,  now a very dear friend,  and he lent me a book and through reading this book, I realised why my life felt empty and what I needed to do.
    One lunchtime in August 1985 Steve and I went to my car in the car park at work and he prayed and I prayed. I believed Jesus had died to forgive everything I had done wrong and will ever do wrong, I chose to turn to Jesus and from my way of doing things to His Way of doing things. Steve layed hands on me and prayed that I be filled with the Holy Spirit and that was the first time I ever felt a tangible physical presence of God. I felt like a veil had been lifted and knew a joy and peace and felt a love like I had never known before.
    Since then I have had a passion to tell others what God has done for me and what he has done for them.
    Over the years I have felt the Joy and Peace and Love of God many times through good times and bad.
    I have never heard an audible voice from God but He speaks to me every day, mainly through His word  but also through others and in His creation.
    Even when I don’t “feel” His presence I know with out a doubt that He is with me always, before me, behind me, above me and below me and within me. Protecting and guiding me.
    I can be myself with Him because He knows me.  I do get angry with Him, I do argue, I am dissobedient  but I know from experience He will always give me a good kick in my backside to get me back on track.
    I have beautiful intimate times when I sit with Him and read His Word and look forward to those special times every morning and evening.
    To me knowing God through Jesus is being myself with Him and listening To Him and sharing everything with him.
    He wants to be a part of and share in everything I do .. through good times and bad. I will never let Him go and I know He will never let me go.
    I love Him and He loves me and I just want to share His love and tell others who don’t yet know Him who He is and what He has done.
    I can do nothing in my own strength  it is only by the Holy Spirit living within me I am able to do and be equipped to do the things I do. Knowing God is so intimate because he is in my heart and my whole being you can’t get closer than that.


  2. Knowing God personally is a phrase which points to an important difference in the implications of our knowledge. When we talk about knowing someone we either mean that we know ABOUT them or we know them personally. It’s possible to know about God by reading the Bible, listening to sermons, discussing him with other people etc. It’s quite a different thing to know him personally.

  3. Sorry – I was cut off in midstream there! If God is a person and chooses to reveal himself to us, then it must be possible to know him like we know other people, my barber for example. The tricky thing is that we can’t see him so checking that our knowledge is accurate is not so easy. I can ask another person if they know my barber and then describe him so that they know who I’m on about.

  4. Will try to finish my thought this time! I think the key thing is that we check our personal knowledge of God by talking about him to others who know him. That way we can be more confident that we do know him and he’s not just a product of our imagination. Incidentally this is one of the most interesting things about the book of Job: five people talk about their views of God. Who’s right though?

  5. I think it’s important to be aware that not all sincere believing Christians have been blessed with an experience of God’s presence or would choose to say that they know God. They – we – rely on what we read in the Bible to give us hope for the future, based on God’s promises and his nature revealed in scripture. I feel sometimes that the gospel is being changed from “repent & believe”, to “repent, believe and experience”. While there is no lack of language about knowing God in the New Testament letters to the churches, this never seems to be the focus, but rather a seeking for the fruits of love, unity and faithful perseverance. In 1 John 1, for example, he writes: “We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands” – not “if we experience his presence”. So please let’s be careful that we don’t limit the good news only to those who share a particular kind of experience.

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