Is Direct Experience With God Important?
True understanding of God comes not primarily from the scriptures, but from experience. This is something that people have gotten wrong for much of the New Testament and it has hurt the Body of Christ immeasurably. First we experience God then we write about God. Be it through visions, dreams, speaking to us through the Holy Spirit or through personal visitations all our scripture has originated through actual contact with our Father and only then was is it written down as scripture.
To actually know someone you first have to experience them. You cannot fully know anybody through second hand means. Testimonies, letters, photos, or mementos from their lives only serve to give you a two dimensional knowledge about a three dimensional person. As good as a photograph might be it always pales in comparison to actually being there.
Facts and figured do not a relationship make
Many people know a lot of facts about God but have never really met God. People cannot know God through theoretical knowledge. Things that would become immediately apparent to them if they met their Father are opaque because their mental picture is skewed through lack of direct personal contact.
Losing faith in Bible College
This happened to me during Bible College. The more I learned about God the less I felt I knew Him. I learned all the doctrine but could not seem to find His presence. Finally, and mercifully, a move of His Spirit came to our church and I found out through experience what He was actually like. Suddenly, I understood the mental picture I formed of my Father was incorrect. Through personal contact I finally understood how He really was and only then did His scriptures began to make better sense. Of course, all of the Bible was true but what “I” had mistakenly thought the Bible said was not the full truth because I lacked perspective. It took meeting God to straighten things out in my mind.
We must experience God to truly know Him
Learning about God is not enough, we must actually meet God and be in His presence for real understanding to take place. Those who try to teach the scriptures without really knowing the One who wrote them present a limited and often skewed view of God. When people assume that others incorrect knowledge equals truth they pick up these limitations and incorrect views making them their own. As this chain of misfortune goes on down through the years everyone looses touch with God. It is like trying to figure out how many teeth a horse has without ever actually looking in the horses mouth. It is just simply not the best way to go about things.
When we are far from God, He seems strange to us
Relationship based believers say , “this is how God really is,” seem strange and out of place to doctrine based believers. People check reports of actual experience against doctrine and when the two don’t match jettison the experience as flawed. For example, some people do this when confronted with the reality of speaking in other tongues. Established doctrine says that tongues have ceased. Therefore, if someone testifies of speaking in a heavenly language it cannot be of God. Legalistic people allow their misunderstanding of scripture to actually cause them to reject God. Dogmatists despise the free gift of God because their intellectual Christianity declares it cannot not exist. This is even going to be more true of the Tabernacles experience of Divine Love.
God wants to meet you
In conclusion, let us put a stop to arm chair Christianity. Press towards knowing our Lord and Savior through experiencing Him. People understand what God writes better when they know the author well. The Spirit and the word agree and so they work together helping us to know Him fully. Experience replaces theoretical knowledge with actual contact. Believers naturally align with each another through their shared personal experience. Once this happens, the unity of the Spirit naturally leads us all to a unity of our faith.