Have you ever met someone who acted as though they knew God better than anyone? They don’t attend church any more because there is nothing more that they can learn from the pastor or teachers. They don’t pray much any more because God already knows what their needs are, and they pray the prayer of Jabez every day—what else is there to ask for? They don’t study the Bible much any longer because they’ve already read it through 73 times, and it couldn’t possibly hold any additional relevance after all that.
The truth is that people with this sort of mindset obviously don’t know God as well as they might think they do. As long as we live, there will always be something left to learn about God. He is infinite and therefore, since we are finite, cannot be fully grasped by mankind. Our goal, however, is to seek to know Him more.
In Ephesians 1:15-23, the apostle Paul tells these believers that He is thankful for what they know already, but his desire is to see them continue to grow in the knowledge of God. It is important to note that this knowledge does not come exclusively from effort on our part, but rather it is a gift from God: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him” (Eph. 1:17). So many believers spend their time trying to discover some new “secret knowledge” when they should spend time letting the Holy Spirit instruct them in the use of what gifts they have already been given. The “knowledge” Paul speaks about here is literally “good knowledge”, knowledge that has true worth and value. The knowledge that we concoct generally contradicts what the Word has to say, and many well-meaning believers find themselves in legalism at best, and heretical belief at worst, without realizing how they got there. True knowledge only comes through the Holy Spirit of God; any other source provides falsehood.
So what is this “true knowledge”? Paul continues: “so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come” (Eph. 1:18b-21). True knowledge is based on the fact that God is sovereign, and His salvation is the only way out of our sinful condition. It is not our strength or intellect that saves us or causes us to grow, but it is the “strength of His might” that causes us to believe and to mature in Christ. Because Christ has been raised from the dead and sits in authority at the right hand of the Father, it is He whom we should rely on, not ourselves. Christ alone has the power and the perspective to guide us through this life.
In his book No Heroes, former FBI agent Danny Coulson tells of a harrowing mission when he served as commander of the Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). The HRT was called into to arrest a number of suspects who had barricaded themselves into a fortified compound in the Ozark mountain range. The territory was treacherous, and there were numerous dangers, not least of which were armed felons. As he was pondering how to fulfill the mission without getting anyone killed, the secret Nightstalker airplane—equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, a stealth-black paint job, and muffled engines—showed up with a knowledgeable crew to assist him and the rest of the HRT in the dangerous night operation. Agent Coulson was reminded once again how nice it was to know someone who could get a better perspective than our own.
Christ has a perspective even better than a high-tech airplane with night vision capability: He can see all of eternity, the good and the bad, the now and the later. With that kind of perspective, it behooves us to get to know Him all the more.