In the opening sentence of Jesus’s Farewell Discourse (or High Priestly Prayer) in John 17, He prayed for several things for His disciples. First, He prayed for himself to be glorified and in return, for Him to glorify God. But the next thing He prayed for was eternal life for them. Jesus could have left that statement linger for generations to ponder. What did Jesus mean when he said eternal life? Is it us spending eternity with Jesus in Heaven? Is it happiness? Surely, it is life after this one on Earth. But Jesus gives an astonishing answer – eternal life means Knowing God.
Your Best Life Now
It’s the first time it has ever happened to me. When I thought of the phrase “eternal life” described the way Jesus described it, I asked myself what would be the equivalent to this phrase using our modern-day language? Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen was what came to mind. I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan. However, when we think of having eternal life here on earth, we would naturally think of having a blessed life – or our best life – as Osteen would put it.
When writing this blog article, I am literally sitting inside a Barnes and Noble (bookstores are one examples of God’s common grace given to mankind). I thought to myself, “I wonder if there’s anything in that book remotely close to what Jesus said – that an eternal (blessed) life is knowing God.” I’ve never read the book (and have no intention of doing so) but I wanted to see what was in it. I searched the Christian section of the store and I just couldn’t believe it – it was nowhere to be found. Then it made sense to me. Of course, it must be downstairs in the Bestseller’s section. Once again, it couldn’t be found. I was stumped. I’ve been in and out of this bookstore a million times and have seen it everywhere. But not today. I went back up to the Christian section as I was just absolutely determined to find it, but still no luck. I wondered where all of his books were. Then, I turned around, and literally laughed out loud. There his books were – under the Christian Fiction section. I think about God’s attributes often but His sense of humor isn’t one that frequents my mind. Today, I truly saw His humor on display. Either Barnes and Noble got it right, or someone felt the Holy Spirit’s stirring and decided to relocate Osteen’s books to the Christian Fiction section. Either way, I got to know Him and His sense of humor just a little bit more today.
Finding and Knowing God Is The Will of God
Jeremiah 29:13 says that “you will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all of your heart”. The will for our life that God has purposed in us before the beginning of time was for us to know God. He says in Acts 17:26-27, “And He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.”
You will see over and over in scripture that God’s people were yearning for more of God. From Moses to Paul, they all wanted to know God in a way that satisfied them. One of my favorite sayings is from John Piper when he says in his book Desiring God, “ God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” You won’t find in Scripture any place where man is asking what God’s will is for their life. They were asking where to find Him.
“Show Me Your Glory” – Moses
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.” – Peter
“I want to know Christ – yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death..” – Paul
Seeking, Finding, Knowing, & Savoring
For the longest time, I never quite understood how hunting Easter eggs had anything to do with Easter. But the more I think about it, there are some parallels with finding and knowing God. When we were children and it was time for the annual Easter egg hunt, our parents would place Easter eggs in the easiest places to find – on the hood of a car, sitting on top of a fence post, or just lying out in the middle of the yard for all to see. As we got older, the hiding spots got more difficult – in the mailbox, buried in a bush, and even stuck in a car tailpipe. The older we got, the more hidden the spots became. Our parents got a kick out of hiding those difficult eggs, but we, as kids, had an even better time enjoying the hunt. God works in the same way. He isn’t hiding from us. He’s waiting for us to come find Him in His word. There are many Easter eggs for us to find there!
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
The deepest moments in my pursuit of God is when I did an in-depth study with my community group at church. We read through J.I. Packer’s “Knowing God” as a group and the discussions were fascinating. Each chapter takes an attribute of God and dives deep into what Scripture says about each one. The attributes of love, mercy, and goodness of God were easy chapters. The ones on God’s wrath, justice, and His sovereignty were harder to swallow. To say that some of these were conversation starters is putting it lightly. I know without a doubt that what we went through as a group changed each one of our lives forever. The more that we learned and savored about the Lord, the more transformed we became in our own walks with Him. All because we decided to decided to take the journey into knowing God more deeply.
“I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.” – Proverbs 8:17