It is one thing to know about God, it is another thing to know God. My tendency (and I imagine all of ours) is to wake up each day, try to remember some things about God, and get to work serving him. But there is great danger in living this way. First, it neglects the very purpose of the cross. Jesus came to die for sinners SO THAT he might bring us to God (1 Pet. 3:18). Jesus did not come so that we might serve him (Mark 10:45). Jesus came to bring us back into relationship with God. Secondly, if we try to serve God without first having our hearts kindled by drawing near to him our service will most likely be vain and prideful.
In Ephesians 1 Paul prays that the church would know God. Paul understood that the church would need grace to grow in their relationship with God, so he prayed for it! My hope is that the church will model Paul’s prayer and ask God to reveal more and more of himself to us. As we grow in our intimacy with him it will lead to both our happiness and his praise.
George Muller was a 19th century englishman who cared for over 10,024 orphans in his lifetime. Needless to say he served the Lord rigorously and faithfully. But he understood what Paul understood, namely that we must first be happy in our fellowship with God if we are to serve him as we ought. Focus on drawing near to the Father of glory and your service will flow for your relationship.
“The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.”
– George Muller