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"At His Feet: Devoted Love" (Part Two)

 

"To truly know him is to truly love him"

 

          As we continue our discussion on religious devotion, we begin with a scripture passage. In 2 Pet. 1:3 we read:

 

 "His Divine Power has bestowed on us everything that makes for life and devotion, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and power."

 

We recognize from this text that authentic spiritual life and religious devotion come through knowledge of God. True religious devotion involves an element of driven desire to give oneself both entirely and particularly to an activity, pursuit, cause or a person. This driven desire comes from deep, profound experiences of God's Love in our lives. God's Love is what changes us, and impels us to want to reorganize our priorities and re-order our lives. God's profound presence transforms our hearts. The strong affection or attachment associated with devotion comes from intense, tender touches of God's Loving Presence. The psalm writer says:

 

 " How precious is your love, O God!…We feast on the rich food of your house; from your delightful stream you give us drink. For with you is the fountain of life, and in your light we see light"

(Ps. 36:8,9-10).

 

The psalm writer's language is passionate, and he uses vivid imagery to speak as one who knows the Lord personally. Immersed in God's Love, we become transformed into love…for the world! For, "God is love" (1 John 4:16).

 

          How essential and foundational is the reality of knowing God? In the Book of the Prophet Hosea, the Lord says, "My people perish for want of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Without this direct, intimate, personal experience of God's presence, we can spiritually "starve" to death. Hence, in the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel we read of Ezekiel's vision of the surface of the desert plain strewn with the dry bones of God's people--symbolic of the spiritually "dehydrated", the spiritually "famished", the spiritually despairing, the spiritually dead!

 

          God desires to draw each of us into the "drama" of his endearing Love. He wants each of us to be united with him in true devotion. He calls us well beyond superficiality to substance and depth of relationship--" a union perfect in the truth of love" (Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p. 298). God's Love is Covenant Love. It is relational in nature. We come to know God by being drawn to Him by the most captivating "bands of love" (Hosea 11:4). St. Paul calls this personal knowledge of Jesus "the supreme good" (Phil. 3:8). This knowledge of God is not first of all "head knowledge" of facts or details: It is not book knowledge. Rather, it is heart knowledge--direct, personal, heart experience of God--where God reveals himself to a soul personally, intimately, intensely, and directly.

 

          The psalm writer cries out, "Probe me, God, know my heart" (Ps. 139:23). The word, probe, means 'to search or penetrate'. The psalm writer willfully offers God the core of his inmost being. The root meaning of the word, probe, is 'good, upright, virtuous'. In Ps. 25:8 we read, "Good and upright is the Lord". God wants us to be good, upright, and virtuous. In fact, God wants us to be like him: "Be holy, for I, the LORD, your God, am holy" (Lev. 19:2). We can't really be virtuous or holy unless we have these direct and personal experiences of God. God desires us to be like him and to be with him, and to  journey right into eternal life to be with him forever. For, according to St. John, eternity involves a direct knowing of God:

 

"This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ" (John 17:3).

 

In heaven "we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is" (1 John 3:2). "When it is understood in its full breadth, this knowledge of God can rightly be called "communion" since it is a share in the same life of God" (Dictionary of Biblical Theology, p. 298).

 

          God is a surprising Lover of the human heart. He surprises us by his presence and through these moments of 'felt experience', he awakens awareness of himself in a heart--of how Loving, Good, and Holy he is. He also lures the heart through these times of pronounced presence into a deepening spiritual hunger and thirst for more of his tender touch. Further, real deep and abiding faith is awakened through this direct, profound experience of God that we call knowledge of God. St. John says, "We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us" (1 John 4:16). This believing follows knowing. When God reveals himself directly to us, "the eyes and ears" of our hearts are opened. Faith is a seeing, a hearing and a knowing in the context of an intimate relationship with God: "May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call" (Eph. 1:18). In John 10:14 Jesus says, "I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me". Faith is a recognition of God, and hence a recognition of his voice, that grows through direct, personal experience of his presence.

 

          The true evidence of knowledge of God (this direct personal experience of God) is love. Am I becoming more loving--more like God? Are my thoughts more loving, my words and my actions becoming more like those of Jesus?:

 

"This is the way we may know that we are in union with him: whoever claims to abide in him ought to live just as he lived"

(1 John 5-6).

 

St. Paul tells us, "But if one loves God, one is known by him" (1 Cor. 8:3); and St. John says, "Everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God" (1 John 4:7). Knowledge of God is the basis of all genuine friendship with God.

 

 

Questions:

1) What are some of the personal "revelations" that I have received from God in prayer concerning either the Lord or myself?

2) How have these insights impacted (made a difference) in my life?

 

Scriptures:

Any scripture from the text;

 

"TWO-ZERO-ONE-SEVEN, TIME TO STORM HEAVEN"

 

 

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