December 22, 2013

Those Who Will See God

Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, Who seek Him with the whole heart

(Psalm 119:2).


The truths that open up our relationship to God are won not so much by the clarity of our intellect, as by the purity of our heart. The doors of wisdom, through which we must pass to see God, are not broken down by the brute force of a strong mind alone. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). The intellect must be in good working order, for its work is indispensable. But it is the pure heart that opens the door and keeps us on the path to God. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8).

Let’s be careful, however, not to diminish the importance of rational thinking where God is concerned. We dare not de-emphasize the intellect, for there is no such thing as a right relationship with God except on the basis of propositional truth. The God of the Scriptures is always the “God of truth” (Psalm 31:5). But what determines whether the intellect gets the information it needs to make its approach to God? Is it not the purity of our desire not merely to study the subject of God, but lovingly to serve God?

Many are the reasons why people might be interested in religion and pursue the idea of God intellectually. Entire lifetimes have been spent in this study by people who never came to know God in the here-and-now, and will not see God in the hereafter (Matthew 7:21-23). The sober truth about religion is that diligent study only becomes the diligent seeking of God when the intellect is driven by a pure heart. And whether we’ve actually sought God or not is evidenced more by the tokens of discipleship than those of scholarship. As Elbert Green Hubbard said, “God will not look you over for medals, degrees, or diplomas, but for scars.”

We know these things, of course, but we forget them. We need to be reminded that seeking God is not an exclusively intellectual endeavor. Perhaps because it is easier just to think about God than to be an actual disciple, we need to be warned that God is more than an idea.


“At the day of judgment we shall not be asked what we have read but what we have done.”

...Thomas a Kempis