Stewarding our Knowledge of the Heart of God
Two young boys were sitting outside of a principal’s office. They were about to be called in and held accountable for a violation of school rules. As they pondered their fate, the first boy lamented, “I’m so scared. I know what I did was wrong, but I’ve heard the principal is really tough. I’m afraid he might be harder on me than what’s fair. What if he wants to make an example of me? I have no idea what to expect.”
The second boy looked over at him and replied calmly, “You’re right, he is tough, but he’s also fair. We’re both going to get what we deserve but nothing more. I can promise you that.”
The first boy looked back at him with surprise. “This is the toughest principal in the state—how can you be so sure he’ll be fair to us?”
The second boy replied confidently, “Because he’s my dad.”
There is a profound difference between knowing about someone and really knowing them. The first boy knew a lot about the principal, but the second one knew him as his own father.
Which of these describes your relationship with God? Do you just know a lot about God from what you read in scripture, what you hear in church, and what others say about Him? Far too many people in our culture, and in our pews, have a lot of information about God, but they can’t say they truly, personally, and intimately know Him. That’s a recipe for living in fear. Consider these words of Jesus from John 14. Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8–9).
Jesus is encouraging, almost pleading, with the disciples to understand that just as they love Him, trust Him, have confidence in Him, and would follow Him anywhere, so they should love, trust, and have confidence in their heavenly Father. Jesus came to reveal to us the heart of God. He states clearly to Pilate that he came to bear witness to the truth (John 18:37). That truth is the great news that the God who created us and sustains us is the God who loves us, sent His Son for us, and desires that we know Him, love Him, and have a relationship with Him. We can live with a profound sense of peace because we know the heart and the nature of the God who created us.
Do you know the Father? Do you really know Him—intimately, personally, deep down in the core of your soul? There’s no trick to it. It’s all there for you in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a precious gift given to us through the Incarnation, cross and resurrection. But like any gift, intimacy with God needs to be stewarded. We cannot take it for granted and expect it to be a powerful presence in our life. To steward this gift means nurturing and cultivating it. There is no gift of greater value we will ever receive in our days on this earth than the invitation to come near to Jesus in this most intimate, personal way.
Let me challenge you to take this one action step today. Create space in your life to get to know God on a deeper level than you are currently experiencing. Cancel a meeting, turn off your laptop, silence your phone, and find a quiet place. Open scripture and begin with a prayer: “Lord, I want to know you more intimately. I will draw closer to you, believing and knowing that you will respond by drawing even nearer to me.” Then read John 17:20–26 and turn it into your own prayer to the Father, in the name of His Son and by the power of His Spirit.
As you read, pray, and spend time being quiet in God’s presence, listen, keep your heart open, and expect Him to speak. Practice this discipline every day for this first week and see by the end if you have not been drawn into a richer relationship with Him. In whatever way you choose to engage with Jesus, don’t go another day of your life without the absolute certainty of God’s love for you and His invitation to draw near to Him with confidence, for His throne is a throne of grace (see Hebrews 4:16).