Some say it is a philosophy, others say it is an ethical stance, while still others claim it is an actual experience. None of these things really gets to the heart of the matter, however. Each is something a Christian has, but not one gets to the heart of what a Christian is. Christianity has at its core a transaction between a person and God. A person who becomes a Christian moves from knowing about God distantly to knowing about him directly and intimately. Christianity is knowing God.
Now this is eternal life; that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
– John 17:3
Why Do I Need to Know God?
Our desire for personal knowledge of God is strong, but we usually fail to recognize that desire for what it is. When we first fall in love, when we first marry, when we finally break into our chosen field, when we at last get that weekend house these breakthroughs arouse in us an anticipation of something which, as it turns out, never occurs. We eventually discover that our desire for that precious something is a longing no lover or career or achievement, even the best possible ones, can ever satisfy. The satisfaction fades even as we close our fingers around our goal. Nothing delivers the joy it seemed to promise. Many of us avoid the yawning emptiness through busyness or denial, but at best there is just postponement. “Nothing tastes,” said Marie Antoinette. There are several ways to respond to this:
- By blaming the things themselves by finding fault in everyone and everything around you. You believe that a better spouse, a better career, a better boss or salary would finally yield the elusive joy. Many of the most successful people in the world are like this bored, discontented, running from new thing to new thing, often changing counselors, mates, partners, settings.
- By blaming the universe itself by giving up seeking fulfillment at all. This is the person who says, Yes, when young you are idealistic, but at my age I have stopped howling at the moon. This makes you become cynical; you decide to repress that part of you which once wanted fulfillment and joy. But you become hard and you can feel yourself losing your humanity, compassion and joy.
- By blaming and recognizing your separation from God by establishing a personal relationship with Him.
The Christian says:
Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exist. A baby feels hunger; well, there is such a thing as food. Men feel sexual desire; well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probably explanation is that I was meant for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not mean that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.
– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity