I’ve been reading J. I. Packer’s Knowing God recently. In it, Packer stresses the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. A lot of people know about God, but they do not know God, Packer claims.
How, then, do you know if you actually know God?
In chapter 2 of Knowing God, Packer mentions six tests to know whether you know God and the extent that you know Him. Though he put these forward as a list of tests, I decided to pull them from the chapter and present them as a list.
Use these six tests for prayerful meditation over your knowledge of God.
The Six Tests
1. Do you dream of garbage? In Philippians 3:8 says, “What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage.”
Do you spend time dreaming of that garbage that you lost due to your faith? If you do, Packers says:
“it shows how little [you] have in the way of true knowledge of God” (25).
2. Does the unpleasantness you have suffered as a result of your faith matter to you? We all go through difficulties as a Christian (or have lost pleasures due to our faith). Do these things matter to you? Or do you know God and feel that these other things don’t matter to you?
“If we really knew God, this is what we would be saying, and if we are not saying it, that is a sign that we need to face ourselves more sharply with the difference between knowing God and merely knowing about him” (27).
3. Do you have energy for prayer and the practice of prayer in your life? True knowledge of God drives us to pray to God. Even if we cannot do other things for God, we are still driven to pray.
“If, however, there is in us little energy for such prayer, and little consequent practice of it, this is a sure sign that as yet we scarcely know our God” (29).
4. Are you humble and dependent upon God due to a sense of his holy majesty? In the Book of Daniel, Daniel has high thoughts of God. He knew how great God was, and this drove him to humility and obedience.
“By this test, too, we may measure how much, or how little, we know God” (30).
5. Do you show great boldness for God? People who know God are willing to go take great risk out of boldness for God. Daniel and his friend knew God and were willing to take a stand for God. even if it meant their death. Those who know God are bold for him.
“By this test also we may measure our own knowledge of God” (30).
6. How comprehensive is your contentment in God? People who know God are content with death, life, poor health, trials, poverty, or any other situation that God puts them in.
“The comprehensiveness of our contentment is another measure whereby we may judge whether we really know God” (32).
Don’t be satisfied with knowing a lot about God. Don’t confuse all the facts you learned in Sunday School with knowing God. Devote your life to knowing God.
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