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How Can I Know God Personally?

January 1, 2021 Save Article

Psalm 19

It’s possible for you to personally know God, the mighty Creator who hung the stars in place. He has made Himself accessible to each of us. But consider for a moment the vastness of His creation. It’s of such size and grandeur that astronomers estimate there are about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (that's 1 billion trillion) stars in the observable universe! Yet the One who put them there wants a relationship with each of us. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t have made us in the first place (Genesis 1:26). And He wouldn’t have sent His Son to Earth (1 John 4:10) to make our relationship with Him possible.

That’s why I can say with confidence you can know God personally. That’s important because to know Him is to trust Him, to trust Him is to obey Him, and to obey Him is to be blessed.

You don’t come to know God with your intellect. It’s not a matter of the gray matter in your head. You come not headfirst but heart-first. Jesus said in Matthew 11:25, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”

God has given you three straightforward ways by which you can know Him personally, intimately, assuredly.

1. His Convincing Word in the Heavens

Psalm 19 describes the ways God speaks to us through creation. It begins:

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them, He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, and its circuit to the other end; and there is nothing hidden from its heat (Psalm 19:1-6).

Have you been outdoors, away from city lights on a clear night, and looked at that candelabra in the night sky? That alone is enough to confirm an omnipotent Creator.

The heavens declare:

God’s glory. As you look into the starry night, the millions of stars will fill you with awe at His glory displayed there.
God’s greatness. When you see such glory, you’re filled with wonder at the One who did that. Creation demonstrates His power. You don’t need a Ph.D. to know “out of nothing, nothing comes.” An eloquent preacher S.M. Lockridge said, “God stepped from behind the curtain of nowhere, stood upon the platform of nothing, and spoke a world into existence.” In one great act, God created everything.

Man has never created one thing. We’re no more capable of creating than Columbus was capable of creating North America. He just found what was already there. Our creativity consists of discovering or rearranging what God already created. People looking at the Big Bang theory should be trying to find out Who is behind the whole thing.

Consider again those billion trillion stars. Traveling at the speed of light, you’re on the moon in less than 2 seconds. But to reach the outermost rim of our universe, it would take 3.7 billion light-years to get there. Consider on the other hand creation’s intricacy. The smallest unit of human life is the cell. There are between 75-100 trillion cells in your body alone. Paul Doty of Harvard University said that one of these cells is more complicated than New York City. Whether you look outward or inward, the vastness or the intricacy of creation declares His glory.

We are also His handiwork (Ephesians 2:10). Therefore, we have no excuse for not believing in God. 

He makes that point in Romans 1:19-20:

…because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

Most of the great philosophers believed in God: Aristotle Socrates, Plato. Only the fool has said in his heart “There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). But how can we personally know Him?

2. His Converting Word in Your Hand

The Word of God, the Bible, is a testimony to His miraculous power. You can know about God, but you cannot truly know God through Creation alone. You must have the Bible to reveal the heart and mind of God, not only what God has wrought, but what God has written.

“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul” (Psalm 19:7). The Bible is inerrant. Every sentence, word, and syllable is there by the mind and purpose of God. He wrote it. “All Scripture’s given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Bible is without error because a God of truth could never inspire error.

Bible scholar J.B. Phillips decided he would make a translation of the Bible, putting it in a more friendly, understandable language than the 1600s English of the King James translation. When Phillips began his work, he didn’t believe every word was verbally inspired by God. But as he got to dealing with the Scriptures, he was so impressed with the power of the Bible that he said, “Trying to do this was like trying to re-wire a house without pulling the main switch.” That’s the power of the Scripture.

“The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple” (Psalm 19:7). When you understand the Bible, you have a place to stand. It is sure and certain.

“The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart” (Psalm 19:8). The Bible will lead you on the right path. The saints and heroes of the ages have found joy in the Word of God

“The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (verse 8). The Bible is pure, without error. Of the 6,000 promises in the Bible, not one has ever been broken.

“The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever” (Psalm 19:9). Why does the Bible endure forever? There are no seeds of corruption in the Word of God. The incorruptible, indestructible Word of God lives and abides forever. The Scriptures are never out of date and never inappropriate. I’ve been preaching them now for well over four decades, and they’re as fresh to me as they’ve ever been. I’m not finding hidden flaws. I’m finding hidden beauties.

“The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold” (Psalm 19:9-10). The written Word of God is of more value to the believer than gold. If you were to put all the treasures in this world up against the Bible and say, “You can have one or the other,” I wouldn’t have to think. I would choose the Word of God. I mean that with all my heart. To a true believer, the Bible is precious indeed. You cannot love God without loving His Word.

“Moreover, by them, Your servant is warned” (Psalm 19:11). The Bible is protective. Protection is far better than cure. You will be kept from so much harm if you’ll only let the Word of God lead you, bathing yourself each morning in the Word of God. He will turn His light on your path and say, “Walk this way, not that way.”

“And in keeping them there is great reward” (verse 11). You cheat yourself out of an incredible blessing by not loving and living by the Word of God.

3. His Convicting Word in Your Heart

Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:12-14).

We have moral earthquakes because we have secret faults. We don’t know what lies beneath the surface in our own hearts. (See Jeremiah 17:9.)

Only God knows your heart. You need the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sin. Jesus said, “And when He (the Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment” (John 16:8). When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, that’s the convicting Word of God.

God wants to speak to your heart today. You can believe intellectually that God exists, yet still go to Hell with a Bible under your arm unless you come to know Him personally. You can’t know God personally and intimately if there’s sin in your life. Pray that God will keep you from presumptuous sin, where you say, “I know this is wrong, but...”

The Word of God is a cleansing word. (See Psalm 19:12) The Holy Spirit cleanses you through the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ:

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

We can know God personally by seeing His Word in creation, in our hands, and in our hearts.

You come to personally know God, your Father, Creator, and Redeemer, when:

  • Through His works in Creation, you see objectively that He exists.
  • Then you learn more about Him through the truths of His Word in your hand—the Scripture.
  • Lastly, the Holy Spirit within makes all this real by His presence in your heart, convicting of sin, forgiving, cleansing, and making available a Spirit-controlled life where sin no longer has dominion over you. (See Psalm 19:13.)

The Holy Spirit leads you to know God personally in a close relationship where you say with the Psalmist, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).

Each of us has “sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). No matter how deep or dark our sin, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul (Psalm 19:7).

Lay aside your intellectual pride and say, “Lord, speak to me.” When He does, obey Him. Don’t wait till you have it all figured out, or you’ll wake up in Hell and still won’t have it all figured out. Come to Jesus just as you are and trust Him to save you.

God put His Word in the heavens, in your hand, and in your heart so you might walk with Him and talk with Him. That is knowing God personally.

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