Through knowing Christ, eternal life begins in time, and heavenly bliss begins on earth (John 17:3). Unsurprisingly, such a blessing does not come easily as there are many hindrances to knowing Christ in our present state.
Hindrances to knowing Christ
Ignorance: A limited knowledge of the Bible produces a limited knowledge of God.
Error: Wrong and mistaken ideas about God create massive obstacles to accurate knowledge of Christ.
Prejudice: We are born with an inbuilt prejudice against light and knowledge and a bias towards darkness and lies.
Pride: An unteachable mind is an untaught mind.
Superficiality: Those who are attracted to the frothy and the shallow in religion will be resistant to substantial biblical doctrine
Size: Our tiny minds find it so hard to hold all the truths about Christ together in biblical proportion and balance.
Confusion: Some know lots of facts, lots of truths, but have no system to organize it in any kind of helpful and memorable order.
Laziness: The sloth hates the hard work that discipleship requires. He prefers to be entertained than exercised
Leaks: Due to forgetfulness or old age, minds that are filled with valuable truth lose so much so quickly through leakage.
Sin: Sin darkens and confuses our minds making it difficult to see and love the truth.
Helps to Knowing Christ
But don’t despair, despite the many obstacles, God has also provided multiple helps to knowing Christ.
Confession: If sin darkens our mind, confession blows away the clouds and clears the way for the light to shine again.
Humility: God loves to reveal Christ to those who humbly acknowledge their ignorance, error, prejudice, pride, and so on.
Need: “Necessity is a good master,” as the old saying goes; but it is also a good teacher. For example, when we feel our need of justification, it makes it much easier to understand it and value it. The more we need a doctrine, the easier it is to learn it. The more we need a person, the more we want to know him.
Gratitude: Just as we love to give more to those who thank us most, God loves to give more knowledge to those who thank Him for any previous revelation of Christ to their souls.
Time: Unless we discipline ourselves to deliberately set aside significant and regular periods of time for studying the Bible and other good books, learning won’t happen.
Quiet: External and internal quiet make the mind receptive and retentive. That’s why, for many people, the early morning hours are such a wonderful time for knowing Christ.
Plan: Just as we would not expect to make much progress in any subject with planning and organizing, so we need to plan and organize our study of Christ if we are to progress in our knowledge.
Patience: Sometimes we will make leaps and bounds in our knowledge of Christ. Sometimes we will feel we are static and stagnant. But patient perseverance eventually pays off and moves us forward, though often so slowly that we cannot detect it.
Experience: We don’t come to know Christ just through the Bible and good books. God also uses trials to teach us, and especially to help us put into practice what we have learned.
Fellowship: Discipleship is not a solitary pursuit. God has so designed it that we learn most about Christ in community with other disciples
Obedience: We cannot expect to learn more if we do not obey what God has already taught us. Jesus said, “If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority” (Jn. 7:17). Obeying the truth accelerates knowing the truth.
Worship: When we take what we have learned at our desk or in the pew, and make that knowledge a matter of worship, then the lessons learned are deepened and made more permanent.
Prioritizing: The Apostle said: “Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ” (Phil.3:8). That’s the kind of ruthless prioritizing that produces top students.
Prayer: We need more than our intellect to know Christ; we need God’s blessing. Therefore let’s daily repeat the Apostle Paul’s Christ-centered prayer: “That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death” (Phil. 3:10).