~ Agathos Church is a non-denominational Christian Church in Columbus, Ohio. This blog post is an adapted excerpt from a sermon by Peter DeWitt. You can hear the whole sermon, Discipleship (part 9), by clicking here.
Our relationship with God needs to be referenced on Him, but it’s a 2-way relationship with God. Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Being known by God is essential to your relationship with Him! God doesn’t want a one-way relationship with you. He wants us to be known by Him! Being known by God is not a relational auto-pilot experience. It is an active invitation in which we invite Him to know us.
Moses had a very busy job leading the entire people of Israel, but he would actually leave his day-to-day rigor and responsibilities of his life and role in order to seek the Lord. We see the same thing happen with David. David’s very own men, that he had trained up were going to mutiny and kill him because of the great loss that they had experienced, and in the face of those pressing circumstances, David stole-away and strengthened himself in the Lord. One of the keys to being known by God is we have to have time with Him.
When Jesus died on the cross the veil was torn from top to bottom between the Holy of Holies and all of mankind. Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, no one comes to the Father except through Me.” That’s the veil. There is no veil between you and the presence of God at any point now because you have come through the body of Christ! That is why James 4:8 makes such a strong promise “Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to you.” We do not want to get lulled into riding on the coat-tails of someone else’s intimacy with the Lord. It is easy to watch worship leaders go after God and somehow feel almost satisfied by the fact they were going after God … but what about you? The Lord wants to have a thing, a special thing, with you. He doesn’t want the new testament believers to stand back from His presence while one believer is in front of the Lord face-to-face. The face-to-face relationship is available for each of us! You ARE the tent of meeting. You ARE the temple of God. You carry the Holy Spirit with you. You can access that relationship, face-to-face, at any time. That’s what was bought on the cross. Draw near to God. He’s ready. But you have to initiate.
One of the best ways for God to get to know you is that He will ask you questions. Jesus, the perfect representation of the Father, asked 135 questions in the gospels! God’s questions can cause us to reflect and that reflection will help process you into growth in the Kingdom. God’s questions can also challenge us: “Where is your faith? The Lord will challenge you to get off the fence! God will also test us with His questions. David told God to test him in Ps. 139! In Jn. 6 we see that Jesus tested Phillip by asking Him “Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?” We have to remember that a test from God is a good thing! James chapter 1 makes that clear “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Testing develops good things! Testing causes growth! But if you look later in that same chapter by the same author (James 1:13), you see “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” Notice! God never gives a temptation, but God does give tests. It’s very clear. Tests are good, temptations are bad. Tests are what cause you to grow! God’s questions also invite / incite our faith. Jesus asked “Do you want to be well?” on multiple occasions. Sometimes we think we are having faith, we think we want it fixed, but we don’t want it fixed! We have to get ready to want it fixed and God’s questions can help draw out our faith.
When God asks you questions, He invites you to discover the answers with Him. The process of discovering answers with God actually causes you to own the answers once you’ve received them. Every good teacher asks transformative questions. When you have to go through the process of having to find the answer, it causes you to be ready to own the answer. Kris Vallotton says that in general in the Kingdom of God that the “process prepares you for the palace.” The wilderness prepares you for the promised land. Seeking prepares you for finding. God’s questions invite us to be a student, but then our questions invite Him to be a teacher. Often, the initial invitation is that God will ask you a question, but then you in turn ask Him questions and He really takes on the role of teacher in your life.
God will ask us questions but He wants us to ask Him questions too! One way that God gets to know you is by the questions you ask Him! Have you ever thought about that? The questions that we ask God tell Him a lot about us! Listen to some of the questions that people ask Jesus. Remember people were asking Jesus questions, so that means that they were asking God questions:
“Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” (Mt. 19:16) Great question! Or consider Mark 9:11 “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?” Do you notice that is a question about scriptural understanding? They are asking to understand scripture. When you read the Word, ask God questions about what you are reading! Ask God questions about His Word! Some scriptures are really plainly obvious, but there are other scriptures that are kind of like the “secret, hidden things” of God. And you need to ask God questions about those scriptures in order to get revelation from them! Ask Him about His Word! Sometimes He will give you revelation about a scripture on the spot. Sometimes, it will take years before we “get it” about that scripture and all of a sudden it is like “bang! Got it!” That’s the process of revelation, but you’ve got to ask questions!
Look at the question from Mark 9:28 “Why couldn’t we drive it (namely, a demon) out?” and also at Mark 11:21 “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” These questions are about developing understanding. God wants the experiences that you have day-to-day to provide opportunities to develop understanding of Kingdom principles … but in order to develop that understanding, you need to ask “why.” “Why couldn’t we drive it (namely, a demon) out?” or “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” The disciples had seen demons driven out, but here they did not see this demon driven out. So what did they say? “Why couldn’t we…”
When things at your job don’t work right like they normally do, and you are driving home thinking about it over and over, ask God “why did that meeting not go well?” You might be surprised by His answer. We need understanding! When we don’t know why something happened, the Holy Spirit wants to teach you “why.” But you have to ask – or else you will just repeat the same experience over and over.
Consider Proverbs 2:1-7. This section of scripture is SO POWERFUL about seeking understanding! “My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. We need to cry out for wisdom! God wants the experiences that you have on a daily basis to turn into Kingdom principles which you can teach to someone else. Understanding that Kingdom principle not only helps you, but now you can instruct someone else and you become an epicenter of understanding and people flock to you asking “what’s going on with this?” or “Why is this happening like that?” And then you explain to them and they exclaim “oh my gosh, that is so right!” And you’re thinking “well, that’s just what I learned last time from the Holy Spirit when I was driving home in the car and I didn’t know what had happened.”
When you seek the Lord in your day-to-day life He develops understanding and you realize why that demon didn’t get driven out this time – because you have been crying out for understanding. You’ve been searching for it. You’re lifting up your voice for it! You’re seeking and seeking and seeking it and He’s giving it to you! And you literally become a pillar of understanding that people flock to in order to hear what you’ve heard from the Lord. “I’ve never heard the Gospel like that!” “Where do you get this stuff?” “That’s so right!” “That’s so good!” It’s from God! And it comes from asking Him questions! When you ask Him questions, it invites Him to be a teacher in your life. And what a blessing it is to you and others when you are His student!