There is a difference between knowing about something or someone in your head and actually knowing in your heart. You can mentally believe in a concept, an idea, or a person. You can verbalize with your mouth that you believe it to be true. But the real indicator, the litmus test of your belief can only be seen in your day-to-day actions and in your life.
Many of us profess to know Christ, in actuality do not really know Him. We claim to believe in Him, but our lifestyles, our choices and our resulting consequences indicate otherwise. Having a “head” knowledge of God, does not equate to having a relationship with Him. To really know Him is to love Him. To really know Him is to spend time with Him.
A relationship with Christ has similar components to a relationship with a fellow human being. Relationship is the key to hearing from Him — to actually hear Him speak and respond to us personally. The more we spend time with Him, the more we will be able to hear and know His voice. The inverse is also true. The less time we spend with Him, the less likely we are to receive from Him.
It is similar to someone who you have tried to reach out to, but who never answers, who never returns your calls or text messages. You are actively seeking the person out, but they do not respond. So after a while, you back you off. Then all of a sudden, here they come wanting to talk and have deep conversation about what’s going on in their lives and inevitably it comes around to the real reason for the call — what they want from you.
However, because they ignored you when you reached out and didn’t seem to be interested in you at the time you were interested, you are less inclined to “hear” what they have to say, much less do what they asked of you. You have somewhat distanced yourself for you realize that this person really doesn’t want to get to know you personally. They have their own selfish agenda operating. You realize that if you gave them what they wanted it would not be good for you and that the person is really just using you.
Imagine if someone you know intimately, someone with whom you have spent quality time with and who really knows your heart, asks to borrow a hundred dollars. There is no question about it. If you have it, the answer is yes. On the other hand, if someone you barely know, who is an acquaintance that you see only in passing, and who barely speaks to you, asked to borrow money with intense promises of paying it back, would you be so willing with this person as you were with the person who knows your heart? It sounds crazy, but sadly this is how head knowledge Christians treat God when they want something.
It is very interesting to note how we all of a sudden need to hear a “word from the Lord” and expect Him to answer when we haven’t bothered to crack open the Bible or spend time in prayer or worship. Yet God, rich in mercy still keeps our hearts beating and our lungs breathing air. He keeps trying to reach out to us in a soft voice and sometimes loudly through our circumstances and other people.
God knows us “head knowledge children” from a distance. He sees us coming, but He does not really “know” us. Often we have the audacity to ask from Him and actually expect Him to move when we don’t even really talk to Him that much. How must this feel to Him after all He has done for us? How often have we grieved the Spirit with such behavior? Then we wonder why He doesn’t hear us and our prayers don’t get answered.
For us to move from having a “head” knowledge of God to a real relationship at the heart level, we must humble ourselves. This means coming to the end of ourselves and realizing that we do not know what we are doing and that without Him we are a mess. It means submitting our will, our ideas, desires and plans to Him as our Creator and Savior. In Psalm 138:6 (AMP), we read, “for though the Lord is high, yet has He respect to the lowly [bringing them into fellowship with Him]; but the proud and haughty He knows and recognizes [only] at a distance.” We want Him to come closer to us and not keep us at a distance.
Secondly, because we have humbled ourselves and He has drawn closer to us, we are now in a position to actually hear Him when he speaks. Before we were at a distance in our pride and self-sufficiency, but because we have humbled ourselves, He came close enough for us to hear Him. We are his sheep, His children and as He comes closer we find that we do indeed know the voice of our Savior as shown in John 10: 3-5 (NET) ….”and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name…he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers”. The more we know His voice, the less inclined we are to run after other worldly voices that lead us astray.
Lastly, as we humble ourselves, get closer to Him, and learn to hear His voice, we find that we are learning more and more about Him. We can clearly see Him at work in our lives up close and personal. It has now turned into an intimate relationship where we really and truly know Him and He knows us. We are not some distant stranger only showing up to get something from Him. We are his beloved children that He knows very well and is more than happy to take care of us. Not only that, we are walking with Him in the Spirit of Truth and no longer walk in the error so common with those who only have head knowledge as written in 1 John 4: 5 (AMP):
We are [children] of God. Whoever is learning to know God [progressively to perceive, recognize, and understand God by observation and experience, and to get an ever-clearer knowledge of Him] listens to us; and he who is not of God does not listen….By this we know (recognize) the Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error.
We act as if it is difficult to be in a relationship with the One Who created us, but the problem is not Him, it is us. We tend to be close to people that we spend time with, talk to and share with. We tend to be far from people that we do not know, do not spend time with and do not talk to. We did not get this way by accident, but by the design of our Creator. We were created to live life within the context of relationships. If we are like this with humans, it stands to reason that we are created to function like this with our Creator. To move from a “head” knowledge of God to actually knowing Him in your heart is simply a matter of working on your relationship with Him. At the end of the day, it really and truly is all about the relationship. It is about having a fruitful and meaningful relationship with Him that brings us fulfillment and brings Him glory – “when you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant…” John 15: 5-8 (MSG).