Estimated reading time: 3 minutes:-)
Job 22:21 says, “Acquaint yourself with him, now, and be at peace. Thereby good shall come to you.” This was my verse of the day.
I thought this verse was interesting. Acquaint yourself with God? I thought we were supposed to love him and serve him and worship him ~ aren’t those things so much more powerful than just acquainting yourself with him?
But this week I was reminded of a huge part of our relationship with God, and I wanted to share it with you.
Scot McKnight’s novel One.Life claims, using a study conducted by neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, that 24% of believers view God as distant. And I think, whether we view God as distant on a constant basis or not, it’s easy to view him as high and mighty, far removed from our current situations every once in a while.
Yes, we know he loves us. Died for us. Saved us. But does he really walk with us? Does he really know us? And can we possibly know him?
I thought about the word acquaint. It’s not a deep, rich word like love or submit. It’s not a steadfast commitment to service. It’s a simple form of introduction, a desire to personally connect with someone. It’s still shallow. But it’s a beginning.
I thought of my own relationships in the past ~ with friends, boyfriends, family members. Each one of them, close or not, started as an acquaintance. Even my parents were acquainted with me the day I was born. I guess acquaint is a delicate way of saying you met someone face to face, personally and physically.
An acquaintance is a beginning. The beginning of a friendship. A love. A commitment.
And I’ve realized how tragically we’ve complicated our relationship with God over time.
I see, from experience, believers hammering new Christians with a long list of what to do, and what not to do. These lists are quite useful, especially if you’re entering the culture quite new and unacquainted with Christian living. And these lists come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they come in a pat on the shoulder and a passive aggressive comment about why you shouldn’t wear soccer shorts to church. Sometimes they come in a room full of people lifting their hands to God, but you’ve never had the guts to do the same thing. Sometimes they come in kind discussions, well-meaning pamphlets, and directions to specific scripture.
And these things are good. But they so quickly get rid of the acquaintance stage with God. The messy, gritty, somewhat embarrassed encounters with God when you have no idea what to do but you know you just need to talk with your savior.
And sometimes, the times you are least ceremonious, the times you come to God ugly crying or confused or just feeling gross, you see God in a whole new light. You become acquainted with the practicality of his love. You become acquainted with how intimately he walks with you daily, how all your flaws and ugliness didn’t chase him away, how your ignorance didn’t make him reconsider once, how your imperfections can’t possibly wedge a single inch between you and the creator of the universe.
In John 17, Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So how do we know God?
Every relationship starts with an acquaintance.
Of course, the formal side of faith ~ going to church and perhaps tithing, serving others and worshiping and confessing and having communion ~ is good. Each is a gift of God. But the way we truly know God and get to know him personally is by spending time with him. Not by attending as many services as we can, or reading as many commentaries on scripture possible. Not even by pretending to be a formal, good Christian. Not by serving constantly (again, although this is good).
We acquaint ourselves with God by spending time with him. Casting our burdens on him. Reading his word. Just listening for his voice. These unprofessional moments are so beautiful, so intimate, and so real. It’s so simple.
So I challenge you to acquaint yourself with God. I know many of you already have a solid relationship with God, so an acquaintance sounds strange. But just spend time with him. Talk with him like a friend, like a father, like your first love. Listen. He’s more interested in you than you could ever imagine;-)
Listen to this song, “Known & Loved” by the Blue Light Bandits. If you can, read the lyrics along with it and imagine the friend mentioned in the song being Jesus. It’s pretty incredible:-)