There are those who read books, sharing in other people's adventures, gaining knowledge through every page read. Then there are those who read books, share adventures, gain knowledge and go out and live life. Books, videos, music, film are all good ways to experience adventure and gain knowledge but until it is lived and experienced it is only theory. Too many of us only have a theory knowledge of God and have precious little experience knowledge.
Paul told us that one of the elements of living a life that pleases Jesus is:
"... growing in the knowledge of God ..." (Colossians 1:10)
Most of us read that and automatically think of Sunday sermons, Bible Study groups and Bible College. All of these are great and necessary but they are only a part of growing in the knowledge of God. Jesus is not a theory to be studied. He did not reveal formulas, steps and methods. He came to begin a relationship with us and relationships do not grow through reading books.
We can read a persons biography and gain some insight and knowledge about a person but we will not actually get to know that person until we spend time with him. In spending time we discover mannerisms, , quirks, and a deeper understanding of what we have read. That's the beauty of our relationship with God, we get to experience him every day and in experiencing him we grow in our knowledge of him; we get to know him.
This is not taking away the importance of studying and knowing the Word of God but if that is all we are doing then we are gaining in knowledge about God without actually knowing God. Through the Holy Spirit in us we have the privilege of being in fellowship with God every day. If we want to really know him then we obey him, putting into practice what we have learned and experiencing him through our living. As we do the things he said to do we will soon discover that we experience Jesus as he flows through our actions into other people's lives. As we practice his presence, including him in all our daily adventures, talking things out with him, being active in the mission he has given us, we will gain great insight into the meaning behind the theory and we will discover that we do have the mind of Jesus.
Living the experience brings life to our relationship with Jesus. It opens our eyes, our mind, our heart to knowledge and understanding. Suddenly, things we have read begin to make sense. We gain true knowledge of the love of Jesus and we are moved beyond words. Theory becomes experience and experience becomes living knowledge, which is life in Jesus.
Being moved by wonderful quotes from God's Word is great, but experiencing the practical outworking of those words is incredible. Reading that nothing separates us from the love of God is encouraging but to live that experience where you discover the depth of that truth is powerful. To read that he will never leave or forsake us is good but to have experienced his presence in the depth of your sorrow or great trial is another thing entirely.
The Christian life is meant to be lived not to be studied. Gaining knowledge of God goes beyond Bible Study, it happens as we experience God in our living. It happens when he moves through our actions, and comforts us in our sorrow. It happens when he encourages us by his presence when we feel we are lost or when we have blown it. It happens in the assurance of his love as he strengthens us not to grow weary in doing good. It happens as we worship him throughout our day, in the good and bad moments. It happens as we give our glass of cold water to someone who is dying of thirst. The best knowledge we can gain of Jesus is when we live our life in him and such a life of gaining knowledge pleases him.