From the Archives: Knowing God Personally
By Ronald J. Fowler
So much of human existence is filled with indirect relationships. There is a certain distance people maintain either for good or bad reasons. However, the fact remains that many people prefer the pain of distance to the fulfilment of fellowship. Too many people are more thing-oriented than people-oriented. It is no wonder that the information gap gets smaller while the people gap gets wider.
Why are people fearful of people? Is the knife of rejection, discouragement, and disappointment so devastating that it stands as a menacing threat to intimacy or community? Must people only be content to aspire for long-distance relationships, even with God?
Knowing God does have its pain, for God calls people to a life of being one with him. It is a daily call to bear a redemptive cross. That call takes precedence over one’s doubts, fears, and present feelings about past wounds. It turns real hurts into hurdles for the Spirit to overcome. Because God knows the self better than the individual, the pain of accepting his will is overshadowed by the joy of discovering an inner adequacy hitherto unexperienced or unexpressed.
Knowing God personally means that you experience a shared fellowship in which the strength of God is available to cope with human weaknesses. Therefore, no moment need be faced alone. The Bible declares, especially in Psalm 23, that God is knowable and he abides with us, even in valleys! Perhaps we all could benefit by shifting our emphasis from “being somebody” to being with Somebody.
Every person needs significant people with whom to relate and share life. Circumstances are not constituted to heal hurts, restore joys, revive hope, and kindle life. At best, circumstances are only suggestive of something richer, better, and fuller. However, people at their best become transmitters of a divine touch, which can awaken others to their divine potentials.
God is concerned about others. For all are his created children. All are capable of living in harmony with him. There is no divine attempt to limit heaven’s population. However, all need help to know God personally. And Jesus Christ came in order that the world might see in his face the reality and victory of God in the world.
Have you seen, in the face of Jesus, God’s forgiveness of sins? If so, confess your sins, consecrate your life to God, and celebrate his victory! The joy of your celebration will convince others that you have been with Jesus!
Ronald J. Fowler, pastor laureate of Arlington Church of God in Akron, Ohio, served the congregation as senior pastor for thirty-nine years; three additional as assistant pastor. He has also served as vice chair for the General Assembly of the Church of God, chairman of the board of trustees for Anderson University, and special assistant to the president of Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.
Article originally published in the January 2, 1977, issue of Vital Christianity. Republished by permission. Across the United States and around the world, God is on the move in the Church of God. Join the movement. Give life! Donate today at www.jesusisthesubject.org/give.