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people of praise

Knowing God is all we need

Kiess

Have you ever wondered why God didn’t want Adam and Eve to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

At first glance, it seems like a strange fruit, one that could give knowledge. And why this tree or that fruit? Knowing good and evil seems like something necessary to know. And why would they die because of it?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, in his book “Ethics,” describes it thusly: “It is only in the unity of his knowledge of God that he knows of other men, of things, and of himself. The knowledge of good and evil shows that he is no longer at one with this origin.”

He then goes on to say, “He knows himself now as something apart from God, outside God, and this means that he now knows only himself and no longer knows God at all; for he can know God only if he knows only God. The knowledge of good and evil is therefore separation from God. Only against God can man know good and evil.”

In Matthew 6:13, Jesus teaches us to pray to God to not lead us into temptation and then to deliver us from evil. I would hope that we all live our lives wanting to do the right thing, make the right choices, but as it says in Acts 17:28, “For in him we live and move and have our being.” And Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

I often hear Ravi Zacharias say, “Jesus didn’t come to make bad people good but to make dead people live.” Jesus himself said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). So we may rest assured that God will guide our steps, not toward evil but into his good and perfect will (see Psalm 37:30-31 and Romans 12:1-2).

In John 15, Jesus teaches about abiding in the vine – he being the vine, and you and I being the branches. This should give us reassurance that we are plugged into an eternal power source.

So what does it mean to know God, to abide in him? John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him would not perish but have everlasting life.” And Romans 10:9: “That if you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised him (Jesus) from the dead, you will be saved.”

Once in Christ, you are grafted into the vine, and your journey of abiding has begun. Your relationship with God now needs communication; this includes reading the Bible (God speaking to us) and prayer (our speaking to God). It needs fellowship with other believers by going to church.

You should also find what Bonhoeffer called a confessor or an accountability partner. In the Army, we called them Battle Buddies. There ought to be someone in your life with whom you can confide personal and intimate details with complete confidentiality.

Finally, just live your life. The Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Matthew 6:34: “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Christianity is allowing Christ to take us back to original glory, before knowing good and evil, back to just knowing God, and knowing that he is more than enough.

Tim Kiess is an instructor with the Men’s Training Center at First Assembly of God in Fort Wayne. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email trich@jg.net. Include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.

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