“What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy.
When you go through a hard time, what you think about God will affect how you do. Do you think God is sovereign and loving and good? Do you think God is in control and always faithful? Do you believe he loves you and is using this for your good? Or do you think he’s uninvolved and uncaring?
When you’re tempted to sin, what you think about God will affect how you respond. Do you believe God knows your every thought and sees your every action? Do you believe he is holy and hates sin? Or do you believe God doesn’t really know or care?
There is nothing more important than knowing God. As Jeremiah said:
Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.” JE 9.23-24
God says if you’re really wise don’t boast or glory or rejoice in that. If you’re “mighty” – if you’re an incredible athlete or if you have great health – don’t glory in that. If you’re rich, don’t celebrate that. If you’re going to glory in anything, if you’re going to be really glad about something, be glad about this: that you know God. That you understand that God practices and delights in steadfast love and justice and righteousness.
Knowing God is more important than anything else in this world – intellectual prowess and worldly wisdom, physical strength and might, financial success and riches. None of these things matter in eternity. But knowing God does:
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. JN 17.3
On our deathbeds, the only thing that will matter is if we know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom he sent. Our wisdom, strength and wealth won’t make an iota of difference in where we spend eternity.
But knowing God is not only the most important thing we need for the next life. It brings incredible blessings into our temporal lives here as well:
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years will be added to your life. PR 9.10-11
The “knowledge of the Holy One” brings temporal blessings as well as eternal blessings. God gives us true wisdom and insight into how to live, how to avoid sin and temptations that devastate our temporal lives. God teaches us how to love, serve and have blessed relationships. He gives us wisdom for our marriages and kids and co-workers and neighbors. And he helps us cultivate and enjoy the beauties of creation.
Knowing God was the most important thing in the apostle Paul’s life:
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ PHP 3.8
Paul had intelligence, status, reputation, and the admiration of his colleagues. Yet he counted all “as loss” compared to “the surpassing worth of knowing Christ.” He was willing to trash everything he had in this world to know and gain Jesus. Nothing brings us more pleasure, joy and delight than knowing Jesus. These verses urge us to do so:
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 2 PE 3.18
so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, CO 1.10
Make it your top priority to grow in the knowledge of Jesus. Make Bible intake – reading or listening to the Bible – a habit in your life. Try to read or listen on a regular basis. Start small – even if it’s only 10 or 15 minutes a day. For me, taking in God’s Word first thing in the morning has been the best habit God has helped me cultivate in life.
A few books to enhance your growth in knowing God: The Attributes of God by AW Pink (a Kindle version is available at Amazon for free), The Knowledge of the Holy by AW Tozer, and Knowing God by JI Packer.
The most important thing about you is what comes to your mind when you think about God. And God wants to reveal himself to you even more than you want to know him.