“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 church does not lack people who know
about Scripture. It does not lack good
and faithful people who know the rules and try to follow them. The church lacks sufficient numbers of
believers who know first-hand the love of God.
There is a long distance between knowing
about someone, and knowing them. I know
about many; I know few. This principle
is infinitely true with God. Churches
are places where we learn about God. But
what about knowing God and receiving God's abundant healing love? It is exactly here where what we are doing is
too often not working.
The common Christian experience is like
a person who is invited to a buffet table the length of a football field. Most invitees start on the end with the
snacks and finger food, and they seem to get full and stop before experiencing
the full spread. Many get to the salad bar, but few move on to the most
nutritious and delicious foods.
Until many of God's faithful come to
know God and be filled to overflowing with God's healing love, churches will
decline and decay. If a full measure of
God's love radiates from us, nothing can contain our explosive impact upon the
world. If we fail to catch something
spiritually contagious and joy-filled, nothing can stop our fall.
Malone in “UM Men's Magazine, Spring 2004”