Why Did God Create Humans? To Know Him…
It is possible for a parent to “provide” for their children without their children really knowing the parent. The children may have all of their needs—food, shelter, clothing, education, medicine, etc.—and may even have many of their wants—vacations, sports, electronics, etc., but sometimes the children do not really know their parents who are busy doing all this “providing.” Maybe the parents aren’t home much, maybe the parents are home but are focused on other interests/hobbies/goals, maybe the parents really believe that great parenting consists mostly of providing stuff and opportunities for children, maybe the parents don’t know how to parent and so they make sure their children are with other adults for as many hours as possible each week. But whatever the reason, it is possible to provide materially and educationally for children without children & parents really knowing each other deeply, personally, relationally, and the short & long-term results of such relational neglect can be devastating. This is perhaps why God closes the Old Testament with the powerful statement that the one preparing the way for the Messiah (Jesus!) will “turn the hearts of children & parents toward each other” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Similarly, it is possible for a husband and wife to be busy together raising children, working in and outside the home, managing their household, attending events, serving at church/in the community, sleeping next to each other every night, being in the same space often and STILL not really know each other deeply, personally, relationally. Some have experienced, and many know those who have, the frustration of a spouse crying out, “I just don’t KNOW you anymore!” despite years of being together, despite years of accomplishing much, despite a flurry of (often good!) external activity and busyness. Despite having earthly and external success, deep down we are hurt when we don’t KNOW our spouse relationally.
This can also be true of God. We can do much FOR God but do little WITH God. We can accumulate facts ABOUT God without knowing what it is like to spend an afternoon WITH God. We can talk AT God without ever pausing to learn how to listen TO God. That should FRIGHTEN us, that it is dangerously easy to lose (or never have!) our internal relationship with Jesus amidst a flurry of external service to God.
Therefore, I want to walk us through different Bible passages in the Old & New Testaments to show us that the #1 reason that God made us humans is to KNOW Him…Personally, relationally, intimately. God DIDN’T create us to:
chase and achieve earthly definitions of success
have as much fun as possible
get as much constant pleasure as possible
live life as safely as possible
figure out our own path/pursue our own dreams
God didn’t even primarily create us to serve Him…
Do you have children primarily so that they can do chores around the house as they get older? Deep down, do you have children primarily for what YOU can get out of them? OF COURSE NOT! The same is true with God.
Reminds me of Homer Simpson talking to Marge and saying—
Homer: “The kids MUST do better helping out around the house—it’s what I want, and let’s remember, I OWN THEM!”
Homer: “Sorry…WE own them!”
No, even though God DOES want to teach us to serve Him, He first and foremost created us to KNOW Him…
Rules without relationship lead to rebellion.
If we get this wrong, if we build our lives on ANYTHING other than the sure and strong foundation of Personally knowing and receiving Jesus Christ as our Savior, Friend, Brother, and God, if we think that we were created primarily for anything else, then no matter how fancy the materials of our lives are externally/above the ground (what we achieve/accomplish–what we do), the lack of stability of our lives internally/below the ground (who we are) will cause us to fall apart when the earthquakes of life shake us to the core…
(please click on them to actually read the verses in a separate window)
- Genesis 3:8-10–From the beginning of creation, God intended humans to hear Him, see Him, interact with Him personally and intimately! Adam HEARD the sound of God’s footsteps in the Garden of Eden…not in a spiritual sense, but in a physical sense! YES!
- Genesis 4:1 and Jeremiah 22:15-16—In the first passage here, Adam literally “knew” his wife Eve (translated “made love to”) and a child was conceived–that’s deep, intimate knowledge! In the second passage, God talks about what it means to know Him–the Hebrew verb in both passages is “yada,” meaning “to know intimately” (for more info on this verb, please click HERE). Adam knowing his wife and humans knowing God—same verb: “yada.” WOW!
- Genesis 5:24–when I read this verse the first time years ago, it jumped off the page. My heart screamed, “YES! THAT’S what I want! All the stuff I chase after–even the “good” stuff!–is nothing compared to this! I want what Enoch had–to walk with God daily, to do life together with HIM!!!”
- Exodus 33:11–YES! Again, this is what I deeply want, and this is what God created us for!!! Face to face “knowing” with the LORD!
- Isaiah 54:3-5–God wants to be our HUSBAND! THAT’S how close He wants us to be with Him! He wants us to accept Jesus as the Forgiver of our sins; when we do this we are literally saying “I do!” to God’s proposal of marriage to us! He wants to take away the shame of our youth–who DOESN’T have shame from their youth!?–and He wants to bring us so close to Him that we will forget the pain of being widowed–having our earthly spouse die. Amazing.
- Psalm 27:4–When David is surrounded by extreme danger and physical enemies who want to kill him, THIS is what David would ask God for if David had one wish: to live with God in His house and to stare at God’s beauty forever. WOW! What does David know that we don’t? What does he realize that we miss? No matter what our physical/earthly challenges, knowing God deeply is better even than getting free from those earthly trials.
- Psalm 27:8–David realizes that his heart–the deepest part of David’s being–cries out to know God each day! That is what OUR hearts cry out for each day, but we try to quench our thirst with the world’s cleverly bottled/packaged saltwater…we are only left MORE thirsty and dehydrated! In this verse, David made the CHOICE to seek God Personally, realizing that only HE can truly satisfy us. Will we make the same choice each day?
- Psalm 27:10–God wants us to know Him as our Father, as our perfect Parent! He wants to bring us into His family if we will let Him!!!
- Matthew 7:21-23–Doing things FOR Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean that we KNOW Jesus. Some people flirt with Jesus, even date Jesus, even go on amazing trips with Jesus and do great things for Him without ever actually marrying Him. The people in this passage had great “success” doing stuff for God but at Judgment Day they will hear Jesus say, “Depart…I never KNEW you…” Sobering…
- Luke 10:38-42–Mary chose what was better–sitting quietly at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him, being with Him. May we never sacrifice those sweet times with Jesus simply to do more tasks for Jesus. Ideally, we would do BOTH, but being with Jesus is better…
- Luke 11:10-13–We ask God for practical/earthly things, and we are right to do so! But God knows what we REALLY need–more of HIM! He wants to give us Himself, His Holy Spirit! YES!!! Are we asking God for more of Him?
- John 14:23-24–Jesus and the Father want to come to live with us, to make God’s home with US! That’s WAY more intimate than just being an acquaintance of God for a couple of hours per week! Furthermore, Jesus wants to teach us everything He has learned from the Father—He holds NOTHING back!, not coldly uploading information to us but teaching us relationally, like a Master and an apprentice, day in and day out, in all the little moments that make up life each day. YES!
- John 15:15–Jesus calls us FRIENDS when we receive Him as our Savior! Not friends in the Facebook way where you chat every once in a while and catch glimpses of the other person’s life, but TRUE FRIENDS who know each other deeply, personally, intimately, and consistently! YES!
- John 17:3–If you STILL aren’t convinced that God made us to know Him deeply, Jesus defines life in this verse, He tells us what real life really is–KNOWING God the Father, KNOWING God the Son!!!
- 1 Corinthians 13:8-12–Heaven will be about KNOWING God fully! Thus, as we grow closer to Jesus deeply on earth, it becomes true that heaven begins NOW, that our brief time on earth can be like the front yard, or front porch of heaven!!!
- Ephesians 1:4-5—Jesus doesn’t want to Acquire us as Servants but rather to Adopt us as Sons (children), FULL LEGAL HEIRS. YES!
- Ephesians 1:15-17–Paul prayed for his brothers & sisters in Christ to have more of the Holy Spirit…why? SO that they could KNOW God better!!! YES!
- Philippians 3:7-11–KNOWING Jesus is the most important thing to Paul, more important than all the amazing things that God accomplished through Paul! Paul wants to know Jesus so closely that Paul will experience Jesus’ SUFFERING because that will help Paul worship Jesus more/appreciate more how much Jesus suffered on the cross for Paul (and for all of us!). WOW!
- Revelation 3:20–Jesus DOESN’T say: “I stand and the door and knock so I can come in, drop off a bunch of tasks for you, then leave Me alone and we can communicate again only when one of us needs something from the other!” No, He says He will come into our homes and EAT with us, BE with us–in the Middle East sharing a meal with someone is one of the most intimate acts of friendship! That is what made Judas’ betrayal of Jesus even more heinous–Judas had just shared a meal with Jesus! What a SHIFT for us, that Jesus doesn’t primarily want us for what we DO for Him, for what we produce. He wants us—human BEINGS, not human doings. But as we know Him more deeply and intimately—YADA!—we WILL do the things He wants us to do out of the overflow of hearts at rest in Christ, at peace in Christ, filled up with Christ. See the difference here?
Wow. My friends, I hope we all can agree that the Bible teaches that God made us to be in relationship with Him! Not studying Him in a cold/clinical sense, not carving Him up into pieces like a dead cadaver, but being with Him and living life with Him each day! Not just serving Him a cup of coffee, but then sitting down and having a cup of coffee WITH Him!
Question: But if God wants us to learn to know Him deeply,
what does that look like?
How do we do that?
- Ask Him To Help You Know Him More Deeply. The first step is often the most obvious, and the most easily missed: Apologize to Him for settling for only a partnership, for only a “quid pro quo” contractual/arm’s-length collaboration (You do this for me and I will do this for You). Ask Him to take you into the deeper waters of really knowing Him from the inside out. Most of us simply want Jesus at arms-length, just enough of Jesus to get to heaven but not enough of Jesus to go through the temporarily uncomfortable process of being changed/transformed. Jesus, however, wants us not at arms-length but to wrap His arms around us, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.
- Treat Him Like A Person; Treat Him As If He Really Is With You. What do you do to grow closer to other people? How can you do those same things with God by faith? Talk to Him, listen to Him, think about Him, invite Him into your activities, apologize to Him, focus your undivided attention on Him (make appointments to be with Him!), tell Him why you love Him, thank Him, share your hurts/dreams with Him, etc. EVERY DAY! I’m not saying it is easy, but it definitely isn’t complicated. Knowing Jesus is simple—so simple that children can do it, and so simple that only those who are like children can do it!!!
- Ask other Christians, who are also learning to know God Personally, what God is like. How is God showing His love/faithfulness/discipline to other Christians? What is it like for them to follow Jesus Personally on Tuesday, Friday, etc.? We do this when getting to know other people—we talk to people who also know that person! Then why not do the same regarding Jesus? This is why small groups are so important, and why next Sunday after both services there will be relatively brief meetings to help people get connected in a short-term Bible study. We are designed to get to know God by ourselves AND with others. Both.
- The Bible must be the foundation and filter for knowing God. This might seem obvious but sometimes our face is the last place we look for our glasses (I’ve done this before!). Knowing God isn’t figuring out what we want God to be like, as if He is a divine Mr. Potato Head that we build. Knowing God is knowing God for Who He really is, and that is one of the main reasons that God inspired the Bible in the first place—so we could know Him Personally by reading it, soaking in it, wrestling with it, learning to believe it AND put it into practice, etc.
I’ve Been Thinking: The mist on grocery store produce gives the illusion of life but the plants are dying/dead—they arent in soil. Lots of activity for God can sometimes give us the illusion of knowing God Personally. Let’s ask and allow Jesus to transplant us in Him and His Word (He is the Word of God!), the only soil that can make us alive (Psalm 1).
- Here are some links with specific examples of how we can know Jesus in our daily lives. Please check these out for more practical/detailed thoughts on how we can know God Personally.
Practical Ways To Get To Know Jesus (please click HERE)Practical Tips for Reading the Bible Consistently (please click HERE)Thoughts On Having Quiet Time With God (please click HERE)Thoughts On Having A Consistent Sabbath Rest (please click HERE)
- Just know that knowing God Personally won’t be easy. Many are thinking, “I’ve tried this before—it didn’t work, I didn’t enjoy it, it was boring, nothing happened, it was hard, I don’t have time, I honestly would just rather watch t.v. and take my mind off my struggles that way.” I THINK THAT TOO SOMETIMES!!! 🙂
But think of a newborn infant—think of how RIDICULOUS being born is from their perspective, think of how DIFFICULT and OVERWHELMING it is, think of how much they would LOVE to be BACK in the womb if they could (though I’m not sure Mama would want that after 40 weeks!):
- Shockingly cold compared to the warmth of the womb
- There are giant human strangers in masks hovering over the baby
- A plunger is violently shoved up the baby’s nose
- Blood is drawn immediately through a needle–the baby is stabbed!
- A complete severing of the umbilical cord–immediate amputation of the previous lifesource!
- Loss of blood
- Baby’s inability to consciously understand ANYTHING that is happening other than, “THIS IS TERRIBLE!”
- Held by Mama for a few minutes then wheeled away by the aforementioned giant strangers in masks.
For EVERY infant, being born is TERRIBLY difficult, yet we as parents know that being born is WORTH IT! We know that being born is the BEST thing for the baby—new aspects of reality open up to them that they could never experience staying in the womb forever.
The same is true with daring to receive Jesus as our Savior, Forgiver, and God and learning to know Him more Personally; as tough as it might be now, it is TOTALLY WORTH IT in the end…
Video: “Empty Me” by Chris Sligh (please click HERE)
I want to close this post with a fantastic song called “Empty Me” by Chris Sligh. It is a powerful reminder of what is needed for us to grow closer and closer to Jesus Personally—giving God permission to empty us of ourselves—
-our pursuit of our own dreams,
-our desire to be in charge of our lives,
-our false assumption that we know what is best for ourselves,
-our fear of getting too close to Jesus b/c of what He might say or do to us (for our own good!)—
so that He can fill us up with HIM
Some popular philosophies/religions aim to empty our minds and keep them empty! But nature always fills a vacuum, and if we ONLY empty us of ourselves we will fill ourselves with something else to worship other than God.
No, Jesus wants to fill us with Himself—He as the Hand and we as the glove. He promised that if we ask Him, He and the Father will come inside of us to eat and live forever through His Holy Spirit.
My friends, many of us desire to serve others, and some of us do that constantly! But if we aren’t learning how to slow down and know God Personally—“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)—if we serve God and try to get around to knowing God when we have the time, if doing stuff FOR God is more important to us than BEING WITH God, then we are like cups that pass quickly under the faucet—only a few drops of life-giving/thirst-quenching water got INTO the cup, so only those few drops can be poured out into the lives of others.
But as we learn to hold the cup of our lives under the faucet of Jesus’ Truth, love and grace, as we learn to slow down and really KNOW Jesus Personally, as we learn to “Be still and KNOW that He is God” (Psalm 46:10), the good deeds and service are going to naturally follow. We will THEN be able not just to serve people every once in a while with OUR hands; we will then be able to serve people with JESUS’ hands. We won’t just temporarily meet people’s earthly needs, but we will introduce them to Jesus Who can meet their eternal needs as well. If serving others & making a real difference in their lives is REALLY important to you, then slowing down & knowing Jesus Personally needs to become even more important to you…