The Knowledge of the Holy: The Open Secret
[Editor’s Note: This is a 23-Day Series exploring different aspects of God’s nature and personality, using Tozer’s “The Knowledge of the Holy” as a discussion starter. You can read the introduction of the series here.]
How do you wrap up a study like this? So far we’ve talked about the knowledge of God, why the pursuit of it is necessary and possible, and looked at no less than nineteen attributes of God among many more. Where do we go from here? The answer is, we launch out from this foundation into our own personal journey. Knowing God at a deep level has immense implications and must be walked out, not just contemplated in order for us to be effective.
The critical need of this hour of history, just as when Tozer first penned the words we’re reading, is for the church to become what she’s been destined to be. And the only way for the church to come to life like she needs to is she must know God. This is not some kind of casual knowing like the way you know your accountant. The church must know her God in a way that transforms her from the inside out.
The difficulty comes in the fact that knowing God does not come from study alone. As much as I’d like to think this reading, blogging, and study has been helpful, it will only be profitable if we take what we’ve learned and apply it to our lives. Obeying and walking out these truths is the highest form of learning.
Tozer calls this the pursuit of the open secret. It’s a mystery so deep that it has eluded scholars, wise men, and the mystics of the ages. Yet, God hid this secret right out in the open for all to see. Tozer also calls the pursuit of the knowledge of God the easiest and hardest thing we’ll ever do with our lives. It’s the easiest because God’s word is a fountain of revelation and He is more than willing to shower the riches of Kingdom on anyone who asks (Isaiah 55:1). But it’s the hardest because our nature resists pursuing Jesus and we must discipline ourselves for this pursuit of knowing God.
Tozer gives us six key take aways that we must commit to if we want to grow in our knowledge of Jesus. To be clear, these are only positioning ourselves, they do not earn us privilege with God. But if our hearts have been struck by this journey and wish to go farther, we must do the following:
- We must forsake our sins. Everything that hates religiousness in us will resist this step. But Tozer quotes Jesus who clearly says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, ” (Matthew 5:8).
- We must utterly commit our whole life to Christ in faith. Tozer quickly adds what this looks like: “keep His commandments, carry our cross, and love God and our fellow men.”
- We must welcome the inflow of the Holy Spirit. This can’t be said enough times and since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of [God] (Ephesians 1:17), then it only makes sense that this step is crucial.
- We must hate the world and it’s values. This doesn’t mean we hate the people of the world, but that we count as worthless the value system this world holds so that we can pursue what God values. If we become a friend of the world, we make ourselves God’s enemy (James 4:4) and that will not aid us in knowing Him more intimately.
- We must practice long and loving meditation on the majesty of God. And while this can look very pious and religious, at the end of the day, we need to train our minds to think about Him (Colossians 3:1-2). As we do, our hearts will grow in the ability to look on Him with wonder.
- All of these things combined and an increase in our true knowledge of God should cause us to serve those around us with more love. If we don’t, not only will we not be profitable, but our actual knowledge of God will be suspect.
I don’t have much to add other than this process is important. As I said when I first announced this journey, this book and the truths inside have had a profound impact on me and many others. Because the truths contained are from the Bible, they have great power to stabilize and equip believers who put these words to use. And it’s only in putting them to use that we truly show we have understood them.
The same leader who introduced me to this book also went on this pursuit many years ago. I listened to him speak once and he shared how he had come to understand Proverbs 2:1-5 as a pattern for growing in the knowledge of God. So I’ll end with by quoting that scripture:
My child, listen to what I say,
and treasure my commands.
Tune your ears to wisdom,
and concentrate on understanding.
Cry out for insight,
and ask for understanding.
Search for them as you would for silver;
seek them like hidden treasures.
Then you will understand what it means to fear the Lord,
and you will gain knowledge of God.
That’s my final takeaway of this journey. What’s yours? Leave a comment so we can all grow together!