*Originally published April 14, 2019
I feel like I’ve spent a lot of my life knowing about God but not actually knowing Him.
It’s as if I’ve somehow thought I could have a relationship with God by knowing as many facts as I can about Him, and then “living right” in accordance with the facts I knew.
It’s laughable how unrealistic that thinking is!
Imagine approaching ANY other relationship in your life the same way, or imagine trying to apply any Christian catchphrase that we try so hard to live by, to an actual relationship like a husband, wife or friend.
What if you tried to function in your human relationships by attempting to just work hard, sacrifice, conform, or serve and please them? What if you just came to them and begged to be used a lot?
Or if you just came to them begging for them to fix you and make you clean?
Those would sound like red flag signals of a dysfunctional or abusive relationship, void of feelings and necessary love.
Yet these are the exact phrases I hear regularly and have prayed myself as if this was normal.
The Hebrew word ‘yada’ means ‘to know’, or to experience with your five senses.
It does not mean an intellectual knowing.
That is why the word yada is used in the verse Adam knew Eve. Or Adam experienced Eve with his five senses.
That is why the same word yada is used in Exodus 33:13 when Moses asks God to show him His ways so he can know, or experience him. Paul expresses his longing in Philippians 3:10 in the same way, “That I may know him, and the power of His resurrection.” We can clearly see that just like Moses, he’s longing to experience the Lord, not to know more facts about Him.
We like to think that experiences, senses, and emotions are meant to be denied, but we were created with emotions, we were created with our five senses, and using them is exactly how we were meant to experience God, experience a relationship with Him, and experience a relationship with others.
Just as a relationship with a spouse or friend would never work if we tried to deny our emotions and senses, a relationship with God will never work how it’s meant to in its fullness when we try to function without them.
When I first got married, our relationship began to be built on shared experiences.
Trust was built as I experienced my husband’s ability to always do what he said he would do. I was constantly in his presence, learning his habits and personality and character by experiencing them. And while learning facts about my husband was important, learning those facts is not how I know him and who he is.
In the same way, our relationship with God is not about “living right” whatever that means, it’s about a relationship being built by shared experiences, as we are constantly in His presence, learning His habits and personality and character and experiencing Him for who He is.
A relationship with God is what ultimately changes and transforms us as we go from knowing facts about Him to experiencing His nature with our five senses, the way we were created to.
By Bri Lassiter
I’m married to my dearest friend of 8 years and mom to an energetic 6-year-old. My greatest joys come from traveling with my little family, cooking for appreciative recipients, learning herbalism and natural medicine, and every experience I get to have in prayer ministry. I’m an avid tea and book lover and can’t get enough of either. I love Jesus and the daily adventure that comes from walking in friendship with him as he arranges and rearranges my story.