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"Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent." John 17:3, NIV
The essence of Eternal Life is knowing God; however, knowing God is not simply knowing about God...or even believing all the right things about Him. After all, the devil knows the truth about God and salvation, but he is not saved. Knowing God is deeper than that.
Knowing God is referring to relationship. In Genesis we are told Adam knew his wife and they had children. Obviously, this was not just an intellectual knowledge! If we are to experience Eternal Life, we must come into a relationship with God. It is this deep relationship that every human being desires, although many confuse the longing with other things.
Knowing God is not done through our five senses. Our five senses are how we experience the world around us, and some of how we enjoy human relationships. Relationship with God is different, it is beyond the senses. It can only happen through revelation. In order for us to truly know God, God must first reveal Himself to our hearts. Until that happens we are spiritually blind and reject God. That is why Jesus could say that only those called by the Father would come to Him.
With that in mind, reading the Bible does not guarantee a knowledge of God. Many may become experts, like the Pharisees, in the details of Scripture with no true knowledge of the God they study. The Holy Spirit must "turn the lights on" before we come to know the reality of God and His Word. It is then that we enter into everlasting life by knowing God.
In many ways it is like a marriage. When a man and a women enter into a marriage union they enter into a growing relationship...a relationship which will continue to grow and develop as long as they both are covenantally alive. When we know God we enter into Eternal Life, but we grow in Everlasting Life as we grow in God. Eternal Life is not simply existing forever. All people will exist forever...somewhere. Everlasting Life is a living relationship with Almighty God which begins now and grows forever.
That is not to say we always feel like we are in a growing relationship with God. If we always felt it, we would not need faith. Marriages go through ups and downs, emotional highs and emotional lows. The same is true of our relationship with God. Sometimes we feel that He is distant, doesn't care, or even that He is against us. But faith grabs ahold of the fact that we have been granted Everlasting Life by the Blood of Christ. It knows that we cannot lose Eternal Life [otherwise it would not be eternal] no matter how we may feel or the "evidence" of our senses. Faith sees and holds onto the reality of Everlasting Life and grows stronger with each trial or temptation.
There are a lot of things which clamour for our attention in this life. And while it is God's desire that we walk in balance, we can never lose sight that our relationship with God is the priority relationship. God doesn't just have life, He is Life. And it is from that Life that our life must flow. It is from the Eternal Life relationship that everything in life gains its significance...or else it has no real significance. We don't have to "find ourselves", we only have to find our God.
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