Those Who Know

Posted under The Rectory Bulletin

but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action. (Daniel 11:32)

There is a great difference between knowing something, and knowing about something. Looking at a guide book to Venice is no substitute for being propelled down the Grand Canal by a gondolier. Working out what is wrong with an engine is only half the story. Better to go on and fix it.

The core of the Christian faith - and the main point of the Church - is relating to, and knowing God. This is done through prayer, and seeking to follow what we find written in the Bible. It is done through spending time consciously in the presence of God, and dwelling on who he is. We can encourage each other in that task, but no-one can do it for anyone else.

Another way of looking at this is the distinguish between the heart and the mind. When we know about something, that knowledge often stays in the head. It is head knowledge. When we know something, that knowledge comes from the heart. Head knowledge is useful, but is only half the story. Heart knowledge is needed too.

John Owen is probably the finest theologian this nation has produced. In the seventeenth century he was Dean of Christ Church, Oxford and also Vice Chancellor of the University. He was greatly impressed by John Bunyan - a tinker - and often set off early to hear him preach. King Charles II heard about this, and was puzzled. Why would the great theologian want to hear a mere tinker preach. Owen’s reply is telling:

"May it please your Majesty, if I could possess the tinker's abilities to grip men's hearts, I would gladly give in exchange all my learning."

Sowing to the Spirit

The one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life (Galatians 6:8) - In the end it is often patience we lack, rather than effort. Stickability is a spiritual discipline to set alongside our daily routines. Foolish indeed would be the farmer who re-ploughs the field after a week because shoots cannot be seen. More foolish the Christian who gives up praying before God answers.

Tears Wiped

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes” (Revelation 21:4) - It is a great vision of God himself - God himself! - wiping the tears from the cheeks of the believer.

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