All the studying in the world won’t get you to a place where you feel faith. No matter how much material you introduce your head to, it won’t change your heart. Your heart requires encounter and encounter embodies a relationship. The connection with God that we are invited into is one of relationship. Relationship requires encounter, not simply education.
You’ll never call God “Papa” or “Daddy” from the knowledge that He is Father. It takes revelation to cause that reaction. We hear from Holy Spirit in our spirit that we are God’s child and then, only then, do we call out “Abba.” (Romans 8) He says it, we hear it and we declare it because we are so convinced at our core (spirit) that we can’t contain it. Then we can walk in our purpose. Then we can see the Kingdom.
The heart and the head work in concert and neither can supersede the other. If you have revelation of God but no knowledge of His Word, you will walk in error. You’ll be making things up as you go based on emotions and desires that seem good and kind of god-ish. Without revelation, however, the knowledge is dry and rigid and there is no life flowing through your faith. Knowledge, by itself, will lead to pride as you argue points that often can’t be proven or mastered. Knowledge without the breath of God leads to arrogance and argument.
Study is critical and drawing near to encounter Him is just as important. God is Spirit and we are created as spirit in His image. We need to relate spirit to Spirit, not just information to our mind about Spirit. From that place of revelation, we find the satisfaction of relationship and the comfort of love. The grace of Jesus affords us access to the Father’s love, which floods our fears as our insecurity as orphans gives way to the security of His kids.
I wrote a positive endorsement of The Shack the other day because I’ve known God as Daddy for some time. I’ve encountered Him and He has healed me from the inside out. I’m still working it out, but I know Him as Healer, Comforter and Friend. From that, I can receive and process knowledge through His lens of grace and love. I don’t need to or want to know things about Him for the sake of a blog or sermon. I want to know Him intimately and want the same for others.
In that move, the main character (Mac) went into motion immediately following revelation of God’s love. He went about the business of being an agent of healing for his older daughter and a pursuit of growth and community in a local church. He had been to the church before, but now he actually sang. He sang for the same reason that King David sang. He sang because he had the heart of God. We’re invited not just to learn, but to sing; from the inside out.