To Know HIm

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”  Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” (John 14:5-8,ESV)

In this passage, we see the disciples questioning how they can get to Heaven and spend eternity with Jesus.  He answers simply, “Through me.”  He goes on to tell them that by developing a relationship with Him, they have gotten to know the Father.

Philip’s answer speaks of great faith and trust in Jesus.  He says, “Show us the Father and it is enough for us.” 

Unfortunately, we do not have the honor of walking and talking with Jesus in person today; however, this does not mean that we cannot have a relationship with Him or that we cannot know Him.  It just means that we must rely on other methods than the disciples did to do so.

In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked how they felt they could come to know God best.  Ninety-two percent said that reading the Bible brought them closer to God; 91% said that personal experiences enhanced their relationship with Him; and 90% said that meaningful worship allowed them to connect with God.  These findings are of particular interest because the church itself has many opportunities to facilitate growth in these areas. 

                   

How then can you aid the young people in your congregation in developing their personal relationship with God?

  • Encourage Bible reading.  Spending daily time in the Word allows God to speak to us through Scripture.  This is a valuable skill that many young people may not have.  Church services, a youth Sabbath School, or a weekly Bible study could provide the perfect place to teach those studying skills.
  • Provide opportunities that inspire young people to come face-to-face with God personally.  This may be done through an encounter weekend or spiritual retreat, mission trip, or service project.  The important thing is that the church is providing opportunities that put young people in a place where they can truly engage with their Creator.
  • Create a meaningful worship service.  Let the youth take over the church service once a quarter, bring in a guest speaker just for the youth, or conduct a special service outside of the normal sanctuary environment in an effort to make worship relevant and meaningful for young people.

In addition to all of these ways to know God, we must teach our youth the importance of prayer.  Communication is key to any relationship, and praying may not come naturally to everyone.  Even those who walked with Jesus had to be taught to pray; Jesus instructed them willingly and gave them this model:

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

(Matthew 6:9-13, ESV)

Without knowing our Creator, it is impossible for us to truly understand and appreciate the gift of Salvation.  We must share the joy of knowing Him with our young people!