Conversatio Divina

Part 1 of 3

Are We There Yet?: Knowing God

The Martin Institute

01.  Belief vs. Knowledge

Belief and knowledge are two very different words. We can believe something even if it is false. We can believe, for example, that the moon is made of cheese or that the universe sprang from nothingness without assistance.

Jesus knew that even the demons in hell believed he was the Son of God. But, as Dallas Willard has written, “We have knowledge of something when we are representing it (thinking about it, speaking of it, treating it) as it actually is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience.”1 Knowledge is truth based on adequate evidence.

So when John states that “eternal life = knowing God,” he is talking about stepping into a belief. We can believe that a chair can support our bodies. We know this is true when we trust the chair with our weight. Eternal living means trusting our lives to what is real, present, and right here. Knowledge takes belief to a new and experiential level.

  • If knowing God through living with the Trinity is the
    key to understanding who we are, and why we are here,
    what are some practical ways you can live more moments
    of your life “with” God?

02.  Discerning God's Voice

As you live in more active conversation with your good friend Jesus, you may want to consider the following questions to help you recognize the voice of God.


  1. Does it sound like God? Does what you heard sound like something God would say? Is it consistent with God as you know him through Scripture?
  2. Does it sound like Jesus Christ? Does it sound like something Jesus would say? Is it consistent with Jesus as you see him revealed in the pages of the New Testament?
  3. Does it help you be conformed to the image of Christ? The glory of God is our transformation into Christlikeness (see 2 Corinthians 3:18).
  4. Is it consistent with a previous experience you have had that you now know was from God? We can take advantage of the 20/20 vision of hindsight.
  5. Is it consistent with the fruit of the Spirit, and does it promote the growth of Christ’s character in us? The fruit of the Spirit is the character of Christ.
  6. Is it consistent with the witness of what the saints and devotion masters have had to say about God? Do I get a witness from those who have won the race?
  7. Do my closest friends and spiritual mentors believe it was from God? Do I get a witness from those I trust?
  8. Is it consistent with the overarching themes of Scripture? God’s spoken word can never contradict God’s written word.


What questions would you add to this list?