God’s not dead! He is alive. That’s the truth, and we know it. But, sadly, when asked how they know that God is alive, many can only answer “Because the Bible says it”. Granted, God is unseen – and so is gravity, radio waves and wind, and their existence can be proven by their manifestations and effects. In the same way, Christians ought to be able to “prove” the reality of their God and the factualness of their belief by the manifestation and effects of God in their lives?
So, can you tell me (and please answer this question as honestly as you can) how god has manfested himself to you in the last seven days that proves that God is alive?
It is worrying that many to whom I have posed this question were unable to answer it. That is, they do not have any recent experience of God to speak of. It could be thatvthey have not noticed it or that God had not been manifesting Himself to them. It is not my job to judge here. I will, rather, assume the former to be true.
It is essential that as Christians we have experiences with God. The Bible tells us that we are ambassadors of Christ, and, as ambassadors, we should have real-time knowledge of what the king is thinking and doing. If we do not have new experiences with God, then we would cease to be ambassadors and become merely historians – knowing God only from what we have read.
In this post-modern era, where truth has become relative, it is not viable to merely preach message (as truthful as it might be) – it has to be authenticated by works. Jesus was in a similar situation back in His day, and this was what He had to say:
If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him.” (John 10:37, 38 NKJV)
There are basically two ways for a man to know God. There is God’s way: revelation; and there is Man’s way: education. In saying this, I am not blasting Christian academia and saying that we do not need it, for we do. Christian Education has a place in our lives so long as it does not take the place of divine revelation.
Every child knows his/her father by revelation in the context of a relationship. My 8-year-old daughter knows that I like coffee, football (only to watch and not play). She also knows what favorite car is. Every time we are on the bus and when she sees that particular car, she would point it out to me and say, “Papa, its your favorite car”. Then she would add: “Its still not yours”.
Only orphans and children who were given up for adoption as infants have to learn about their fathers by reading about them. But God has not left us as orphans (John 14:18). After Jesus had ascended to heaven, the Father sent us the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete. And it is He who will, among other things, continue to reveal the Father to us.
You can know the Father by studying about Him through theology. Even then, your knowledge must be authenticated by experience. What’s the use of learning that God is faithful but not being able to trust Him because you have not experienced His faithfulness firsthand? For this reason the Psalmist invites us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psa 34:8). Before saying, “Come, follow Me,” Jesus invites some to “Come, and see” (John 1:39, 46).
If man could know God through education alone, then God would have just made a list of His names in the Bible and their respective meanings for us to read, learn and memorize. (Our Bibles would be much thinner as a result.) But He didn’t. Each revelation of His name came at the end of an experience of Him: Joshua defeating the Amalekites, Abraham offering his son on the altar, etc.
Paul, the most educated person, in the religious sense, continued to teach and preach after his conversion. But he was fully aware of the limitations of teaching. Therefore he prayed for all the believers that the Father would give them the “spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph 1:17).
Would you pray and ask God for the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him more intimately?