We think we know God
Then it happens in a haste,
He makes himself known
And we get more than a taste!
Is intrinsic delight to the senses,
Then this is our reality:
God will break down all defenses.
“There’s a big difference between what you think you know about God versus an experience with Him.”
― Sy Rogers
‘Knowing God’ occurs in various forms, but mostly in two main ways: 1. Our experience is we know lots about God, or 2. We know lots about our experience of God. There is both a subtle and profound difference. The first relies on us just picking up God at any point, thinking we are on the right track by learning copious knowledge. The second relies on us first having an encounter with God and going on from there. We often don’t ‘get’ God in the first knowing, but via the second way our lives are being transformed – fruit emerges from the branches of our lives. We are able to love others consistently and sacrificially. But the first way is more about knowing information about God – which can be completely anti-relational at times.
This is where the Pharisees come in. There are Pharisees, here, today, everywhere in and about life, calling themselves Christian and devout by many other flavours of religion. They know lots about God and they are devoted to their doctrine. They argue it back and forth and have honed precise meaning for religious knowledge. They have formularized their faith. With the vast majority of their doctrine they have neat answers all worked out, so they are ready to dispense advice to all comers. And they are convincing in the arguments they have worked out and by their use of rhetoric. They reason and speak impressively.
On the other hand, there is the person who has transcended knowledge. Unless they are a biblical scholar – and have a societal role to that effect – they tend not to haggle and argue over doctrine. They tend more to keep their faith real – in the moment, and in context with their relationships – and in connection with God. They are deeply concerned with loving God’s people (read, every single human being). They are secure in the knowledge of God’s love, because God has made himself personally relatable to them. Therefore, they have no need for set rules and their modus operandi is virtue, so patience and compassion and kindness have been honed as instinctive qualities.
Our experience is we know lots about God or we know lots about our experience of God. Which would you prefer? One is a lesser experience of faith, whereas the other transcends legalism and abounds to love. Blessed is the person who experiences God in the web of their being.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.