You’ve heard it a thousand times, I’m sure. “It’s not what you know but who you know that counts.” The point that is being made is that if you have the right contacts you can get the job or the opportunity that others who are just as qualified or perhaps even more qualified won’t ever get. I would add that who you know gets one opportunities but what you know makes the difference in whether one can take advantage of the opportunity.
But how does the whole “Who you know instead of what you know” work when we are talking about spiritual things? It is certainly important for us to know the word of God and be able to apply it to our daily lives. One of the reasons Jesus gave for sending the Holy Spirit when he ascended back to heaven was so that he could guide the apostles into all truth. The result of the Spirit’s word was laid out by Paul in Ephesians 3:2-5 “Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.” The inspiration of the Spirit that brought revelations to inspired men resulted in the word of God and when we read that revealed message we can understand God’s will just as those who were directed by the Spirit in inspiration and revelation did. In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul laid out how God had given the New Covenant and it was unlike the Old Testament God had given through Moses. He called that Old Law a ministry of death written and engraved on stones. Now he has given to us the ministry of life in the New Covenant. When we with unveiled faces read that New Testament we are able to see Jesus clearly and the Holy Spirits works in us through that study to transform or transfigure us into the image of Jesus Christ. Our knowledge of the word should then result in a Christ like life on our part.
But it is vital to see that God doesn’t just want us to know his word. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 it is said that those who do not know God and don’t obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his power. In Galatians 4:8 he said “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods.” In I John 2:3-4 we are told how to test ourselves to see if we really do know God. “We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in that person.” In Philippians 3:8-10 Paul described the huge transition that took place in his life when he really came to know Christ. Before he had emphasized the importance of his birth, family heritage and his religious heritage. But he had come to count all of that as refuge in order that he might know Christ. He moved from that declaration to say, “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection, to share in his suffering and to be conformed to his death if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” He told Timothy, “I know him in whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which he has committed to me against that day.”
So here is the huge point. It is vital that we know the word of God because through that word we come to know God, Christ and the Holy Spirit of God. If we read and study the Bible continually but miss coming to know God then we have abused the whole knowledge of Scripture. When Jesus confronted the religious leaders of his day he said, “You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have life, but they are they that testify of me.” What was wrong with them? They know tons of the Old Testament Scriptures but had missed the primary point of those Scriptures. They had the laws, the regulations and the commands down pat. They could tell anyone what was required of them in obedience. But in all their study they had failed to see Jesus in the Scripture and had failed to really come to know God. They knew lots of things about God, but didn’t know God. The truth is we can do the same thing in any age. We can learn the commands and know all the trivia of Scripture and never really get to know God or Christ to follow to life.
But the reality is that if I miss getting to know God, Christ and the Holy Spirit of God, I’ve missed the very things that matter. We will have revelations from the Bible but never have the real change in our lives that result from knowing Him and following His will in my regular life. So, while what you know is vital, who you know makes all the difference in the world. It is only as I develop that personal love and relationship with God that I begin