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Keeping the First Thing First:
(This study has valuable lessons for both mature Christians and new believers!)
What is most important in this life?
Our life on this earth is very brief when compared to eternity. Some of the people who are reading this may not even live to see tomorrow! When we truly consider all the activities that we spend our time on in this life, nothing is as important as knowing God and having a close relationship with Jesus. If we miss this, then we miss eternal life (1 John 5:10-12).
Look at what the Lord says in Jeremiah 24:7 --
"I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart."
We can see that the Lord wants us to know Him in a more personal way! Maybe you're just coming to know Him or you've been a Christian for years: Keep pressing deeper in your relationship with Jesus and give Him your "whole heart" every day!
What did Solomon pray for?
1 Kings 8:60
Does everyone know God?
Jeremiah 5:4 Jeremiah 9:3
It doesn't take a genius to know that there is a God, because all we have to do is take a good look outside to see that someone created this world (Psalm 19:1-3). The Bible tells us that even the demons know that God is real (James 2:19) and only a fool would believe otherwise (Psalm 14:1). Yes, everyone should know that God exists, but, unfortunately, a relatively small number of people actually know Him in a personal way (Matthew 7:13-14).
How can we come to know God better?
Psalm 46:10 John 14:16-18
Proverbs 2:6 Philippians 4:8
In order for a friendship to grow and stay alive, the two people must spend time together. This is also very true when it comes to our relationship with the Lord: We have to make time to "be still and know" that He is God! All throughout our day, our minds should be filled with His Spirit as we focus our thoughts on Jesus, who is "true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report".
We need to spend time storing the Word of God within our hearts (Psalm 119:11). In the Bible, bread is sometimes used as a symbol for the Scriptures (Matthew 4:4). The last chapter of Luke tells us about the two disciples on their way to Emmaus and how Jesus "expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself." Later on, they told the other disciples that Christ was "known to them in the breaking of bread." (Luke 24:35) In the same way, God will reveal Himself to us as we take time in His word because "out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding" (Proverbs 2:6)
If I go to church and read the Bible, does this mean that I know God?
Matthew 7:21-23 Hosea 8:1-3
No, it doesn't. The Pharisees memorized large portions of scripture; they worshipped at the temple; they prayed, fasted, and tithed. They even claimed to be God's chosen people, but yet Jesus said to them in John 8:19 "You know neither Me nor My Father". How could this be possible?
Christ explains in John 5:39-40 NLT "You search the Scriptures because you believe they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me so that I can give you this eternal life." Jesus told the Pharisees that the purpose of the Old Testament was to bring them to Christ, but even though they knew the Scriptures like the back of their hand, they didn't know God. They thought that reading God's Word and performing religious duties would bring them into heaven, but unfortunately they were missing out on the whole picture. They trusted in themselves so much that they had hardened their hearts to the point that they no longer had "His word abiding" in them (John 5:38).
We face the same danger today: We shouldn't study the Bible and go to church because we want to go to heaven, but because we want a clearer understanding of Jesus Christ and a deeper relationship with Him. These things are merely tools: in themselves, they don't give us eternal life, but they should direct us to the Savior who is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). We don't want to be like the woman at the well who was worshipping someone she didn't even know (John 4:22).
What was Paul's main focus in life?
Paul was a man that had his priorities straight! At one time in his life, he only had religion (verses 4-5), but he declared that all that was meaningless because he didn't have a real connection with God. Paul was tired of playing games. He wanted real Christianity and nothing less! His supreme goal was to "know Him" (verse 10). "For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Corinthians 2:2) At the end of his life he was able to say "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day." (2 Timothy 1:12) Can you honestly say that today?
What did Moses pray for?
Moses admitted his weakness: He knew that he could not be a leader for the Israelites unless the presence of the Lord was with Him at all times. Moses desired a deeper knowledge and a fuller understanding of God. He said "Show me Your glory!" and his prayer was answered because he had a "hunger and thirst" for the Lord and His righteousness (Matthew 5:6). Proverbs 2:1-5 tells us that we should "cry out for knowledge and lift up your voice for understanding". Then we will "find the knowledge of God".
What are the results of knowing God?
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 Ephesians 4:17-32
Those who truly know God will live a different kind of life than those "which know not God" (1 Thess. 4:5). Jesus will liberate us from the chains of sin and teach us how to walk "even as He walked" (1 John 2:6). Let's not be like those who "claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live." (Titus 1:16 NLT).
Here's some promises for those who know God:
John 10:27-29 Psalm 9:10 Daniel 11:32
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