Recently, I preached at the CVCS Middle School retreat up in Idyllwild Pines Christian Camp. The retreat’s theme was, “Walking in Truth” and all four of my sermons centered on the idea of truth and the Christian life. The second sermon (of four) I preached was on the essentiality of knowing truth about God, (i.e. having a true knowledge of Him and His works) to live the Christian life. I worked to show the students that the Christian life is built on and sustained by knowing and believing the truths of Christ.
Why did I choose to preach on the essentiality of knowing God’s truth to a bunch of middle schoolers? Is there not something more sexy and attention grabbing? Is this just another case that reveals how removed I am from the youth culture today? No, I don’t think so. I chose to preach this sermon because when it comes to God, many love to chase His gifts without wanting anything to do with God Himself. D.A. Carson explains:
When it comes to knowing God, we are a culture of the spiritually stunted. So much of our religion is packaged to address our felt needs – and these are almost uniformly anchored in our pursuit of our own happiness and fulfillment. God simply becomes the Great Being who, potentially at least, meets our needs and fulfills our aspirations. We think rather little of what He is like, what He expects of us, what He seeks in us. We are not captured by His holiness and His love; His thought and words capture too little of our imagination, to little of our discourse, too few of our priorities.
In the biblical view of things, a deeper knowledge of God brings with it massive improvements in the other areas mentioned: purity, integrity, evangelistic effectiveness, better study of Scripture, improved private and corporate worship, and much more. But if we seek these things without passionately desiring a deeper knowledge of God, we are selfishly running after God’s blessing without running after Him. We are even worse than the man who wants his wife’s service – someone to come home to, someone to cook and clean, someone to sleep with – without ever making the effort to really know and love His wife and discover what she wants and needs; we are worse than such a man, I say because God is more than any wife, more than the best of wives: He is perfect in His love, He has made us for Himself, and we are answerable to Him. (Take from A Call to Spiritual Reformation, p. 15-16).
Studying hard to know God better is one small evidence that you are more interested in Him than simply the blessing He may give you. Choosing not to grow your knowledge of God is often a sure sign that you could care less about Him and that you only want His stuff.
May we seek God for who He is and not for what He may give us. May our love for God be seen in our study of Him. Let us avoid running after His blessing and begin running only after Him.