There are two ways to know people: by their acts or by their nature.
You can know them because you are in relationship with them. You see their heart in action regularly. And because you do life with them, you know their true character; so much that when one thing seems out of whack, it doesn’t move you. You just know to pause and assume the best before making accusation because you know their nature.
This is the case in the best relationships.
This issue usually comes in marriage. If you don’t really know and trust his character however, you will nag him to death over every single missed act of love – because his true character hasn’t been proven to be trustworthy. You might even pull away and withdraw relationship from him because you are angry with his lack of action. We do this because we are immature in our ways, ladies.
Wives, we grow up when we know our husbands by their true nature. We stop nagging and making big deals out of small actions that are inconsistent with their nature – because we’ve become better. Instead of drawing away from our men because they fail, we draw near because we know their heart. Even though your husband may not pursue you (or whatever he lacks) like he once did before you were married, you know him intimately so you know that he’s into you anyway.
He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.
– Psalms 103:7
The Israelites knew God by his acts, but Moses knew God by His ways. The Israelites responded in fear resulting in working their own way out of their problems – which landed them in the wilderness until they died. To God, Moses responded by drawing closer to the Lord so that he could know Him better and follow his instructions well!
This is why Moses had so much stability and maturity even when things didn’t seem to be going well. The Israelites had none of those. They were flakey and back and tossed back and forth. They didn’t know God by his true nature; they knew him by his acts.
That can happen to us! If we only know God by his acts, we celebrate and love him when he comes through for us, but when it doesn’t come through for us, we doubt – is God really who he says he is?
We aren’t sure because our belief in God isn’t based on his character and true nature. Or beliefs are based on his works alone. This makes us unstable with the Lord. How can we live by faith if we are not sure of who God is? Is he for you or against you? Always doubting makes us volatile.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
– James 1:6-8, 16-17
In every relationship, I don’t want to be moved by acts. I will know people well, assuming the best about their character and trust that God will work it out even when I am wrong.
I want to know my Father God by his true nature, not by his acts so that when I pray for a physical or financial miracle, but it doesn’t come immediately, I am not moved by the lack of action. Rather, I am steadfast because I know my God always comes through for me!