In the previous post, I commented on J.I. Packer’s idea that if we know God we will have the energy to pray to Him. It is more than that: we have a need to pray for God’s cause, whether in a public way like the Old Testament figure Daniel or in a less public way. He says “if there is in us little energy for such prayer, then this is a sure sign that as yet, we scarcely know our God.”
Are there other signs that we know God [or maybe don’t know Him]?
Packer says “those who know God have great thoughts of God.”
Today, we all get so distracted by the everyday petty things of life. I may offend some readers but let me use some contemporary examples. We live in volatile economic times, with some people doing very well but with many others struggling to make ends meet. For people who are struggling to pay the bills, the need for money is not a petty matter, but for people who are not struggling, spending money and elevating lifestyle can be all-consuming, as one’s standing in one’s peer group is all that matters. Another example is social media. Social media consumes so much time. I am amazed at the number of times that some people put their private concerns on social platforms; do they really have that much time? People who study this phenomenon say it is all about sharing your life with others, but it can also be the idea that others are truly interested in your life when maybe they are not. It doesn’t matter, we share anyway. The last idea is politics. We live in a divided country; it is reflected in our government leaders not being able to compromise and accomplish anything on a national level. Television is full of breaking news of this politician said this and this politician said that, most often the comments are disparaging. Instead of coming together to find common ground, it seems the popular thing to do is to insult the other person and create distance between one group of human beings and another group.
Let’s go back to Packer’s sign that we know God and really think about it: “those who know God have great thoughts of God.”
As a people, are we exhibiting “great thoughts of God”? I get so frustrated that the things that keep us from doing His work are some of these everyday petty things of life. Economics may create class differences but does that matter to God? Social media may preoccupy us but should our time be used for better things? Politics may cause us to fear “the other side” but in the mind of God, does He see other sides?
Consider this scripture from Daniel, Chapter 2: “Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men and knowledge to men of understanding. It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.”
God is wise, all wisdom resides in Him. God is mighty, all power resides with Him. God is all truthful, all truth resides with Him. Yet we act as if what we do does not matter. We seem to forget that how our life unfolds is part of His plan. Yet we thwart His efforts to give us our best life. He wants us to think the big thoughts about who He really is and He wants us to live according to those big thoughts.
Packer writes “He knows and foreknows all things, and His foreknowledge is foreordination; He therefore will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man; his kingdom and righteousness will triumph in the end, for neither men nor angels shall be able to thwart Him” [Packer, 30].
The great thoughts we have about God matter. How we think about God directs our prayers. How we think about God directs our lives. How we think about God helps us to see that we are all His people, moving forward to be the best we can be.
“Does this tremendous sense of His holy majesty, His moral perfection and His gracious faithfulness keep us humble and dependent, awed and obedient as it did Daniel? By this test, too, we may measure how much or how little we know God” .
Energy for prayer? Now having great thoughts of God?
Are we lacking?
Do we really know God?