It should be no surprise to anyone that simply having knowledge about someone or something will not automatically dictate behavior. For example, I know that I should work out more because it’s good for my health… But that doesn’t mean I will. I know that I don’t need to upgrade to the iPhone 12 because my Xr works just fine… But that doesn’t mean I won’t. I know that I should turn off the TV and pick up a book… But it’s probably not gonna happen.
At the same time, the things I don’t know can also hurt me. As a kid, I didn’t know that broken glass could hurt me… So, when I picked up a broken shard and sliced my finger open, I really wish I had known that glass was sharp. For many of us, we wish we had known about those hidden dealer fees before buying a new car, but now we are out 500 bucks and there’s nothing we can do about it.
Knowledge can be a conundrum. And this knowledge conundrum especially extends into our faith. I know that I should sacrifice for and love my neighbor… But that doesn’t mean I will. On the flip side, I’ve known many who love to talk about themselves, yet had no idea that it was a prideful sin. You can be wrong and know everything. You can be wrong and know nothing.
I’ve seen lots of people who “know” God in the sense of pure data. They can tell you every story, every character, every law, and every interpretation, yet they have never learned how to apply that knowledge and live that knowledge out. And so, what we discover in this tension is that they don’t really know God… Because to know God is to obey his commands (1 John 2:3).
On the total opposite side, there are many who profess to know God, but their lives don’t reflect that knowledge because they have made no effort to know Him. They’ve let the pendulum swing to the other side and rather than learning everything about God, they’ve decided to know nothing about Him. And they are still just as far from God as those who have lots of knowledge but do very little. Their claim to follow Jesus is really just empty words.
It really is a conundrum. It shows us that you can know all the answers or know none of the answers and still be wrong. And at any point in time, every single one of us could swing to one side or the other.
So how do we know if we truly know God? If just the facts isn’t enough and if claiming belief but failing to learn about Him isn’t enough, what’s the answer?
I think it’s simple really… Let your knowledge of God transform you to be like God. To those who know everything, you have to be open to the power of that knowledge so that you can change for the better. To the one who puts no effort into studying and learning the things of God, you have to make an effort to learn about Him in His word so that you can be transformed.
Learning about God is an essential process to knowing God, but it can’t stop there. That knowledge must be applied to everyday life. Your knowledge must transform the way you think, live, and act. It must transform you to be like Jesus.
Colossians 3:10 says, Put on the new self, which is being renewed IN KNOWLEDGE after the IMAGE of its CREATOR.
Your new self, your transformed self is renewed in KNOWLEDGE after GOD! You’ll know you know God when you begin to experience the thrill of transformation in Christ. You’ll know you know God when you begin to respond differently and act differently and think differently than you did before.
So here’s the application for all of this: When (not if!) you study the Bible and the things of God to know Him more, you should always ask, “How then should I live?” Because the answer to that question should always be a reflection of Jesus and His way of life. And if it’s not, then you’ve missed the point and you might not know God as well as you think.