Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our former Executive Director,Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

“Most of us know about God, but that is quite different from knowing God.” — Billy Graham

This series of posts explores the topic “knowing God” – what it is, what it is not, why it is important, how it is possible and why it is relevant to marketplace leaders in the twenty-first century.

For several years, we lived in downtown Toronto a relatively short distance from my office. During my frequent walks to work, I often engaged with people living on the edge who, not surprisingly, asked for a handout. I usually struck up a conversation during which I asked if they knew Jesus. In every single case I can recall, they said “yes.” When they did, I clarified that I was not asking if they knew about Jesus. Rather, did they actually know Him? At that point, most admitted they did not!

There is a huge difference between knowing about someone and actually knowing her or him. Before I first met my wife, Mary, I could have undertaken some due diligence to learn as much about her as possible. In those days, we didn’t have personal computers let alone social media so digital sleuthing was impossible! My investigation might have included obtaining photographs as well as information about Mary from mutual friends. While the results of this investigation would undoubtedly have motivated me to want to meet her, they did not help me know her.

Shortly after we were introduced during undergraduate years at the University of British Columbia, we had a lengthy and animated conversation. We so enjoyed one another’s company that we began to explore the possibility of marriage that very evening! (I suspect many of today’s young professionals can’t relate to this story.)

More than fifty years later, we still enjoy our weekly “date night.” It would be fair to say that, based on our thriving relationship, we’ve gotten to know one another well. Of course, at this point we also know a lot about one another. In fact, there are many situations where we can finish each other’s sentences!

In the same way, my actually knowing God (as opposed to simply knowing about Him) has many implications including the following, each linked to a passage from the Bible.

  1. God exists; [Genesis 1:1]

  2. God is personal; [1 John 4:9]

  3. Relationship with God is possible; and [John 3:16]

  4. God already knows me inside out and, notwithstanding my (many) faults, desires to be in relationship with me; [Psalm 139:1-18]

Now, according to many surveys, a majority of people in the West believe God exists and they’re going to heaven. Nevertheless, most live as though He did not exist. As a result, they base their entire lives on self-rule rather than God’s rule. As unpopular as the notion may be, the Bible asserts that we can never get to heaven on our own merit.

Rather, one must know God in order to get to heaven. What does that mean? Stay tuned!

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.