(July 19, 2022) Robert McQuillan challenges…

Psychologist Dr Andre Tessier, counselling a friend who is wondering about himself, who he really is, his future, answers honestly… ‘I’m only a doctor. I can’t tell something I don’t know… but let me show you something. See those books over there?’

Tapping several books in the packed bookshelves, he names Carl Jung and other well-known thinkers commenting, ‘Hundreds of books! Sum total of man’s knowledge of his fellowman. Yet in a moment like this, they fail. That’s why when I’m faced with such a moment, I always turn to this book, older than all the others by thousands of years.’  

Taking a black jacketed book, he searches through it. ‘Ah, here we are,’ he smiles, ‘Proverbs, twenty-third chapter, seventh verse,  “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”’

Leaving it with the troubled man to consider the reality of Solomon’s words, Dr Tessier encourages him tobelieve deeply in his heart, his soul, emphasising… ‘And that’s all that matters.’

Believing in one’s very soul
‘Heart’ is an interesting word found throughout that ‘ancient book’, speaking of various hearts troubled by  grief, deceit, discouragement, hatred, hardening (that’s the short list!).

Scripture also highlights the good side of a heart right before God, one that knows and trusts Him fully… such a person enjoys laughter, gladness, fond memories, wisdom, good imagination, willingness and integrity.

In the scripture above, quoted by that friendly psychologist from his ‘old’ KJV, ‘heart’ was translated from the Hebrew word nephesh. I find it interesting that nephesh in the Greek Septuagint is mostly translated as psyche (ψυχή) from which we get our word ‘psychology.’

As many think of the ‘heart’ as the ‘soul’… an emotional love that takes over everything, it seems the good psychologist Dr Tessier gave great advice and encouragement to that troubled man ie ‘Just believe in your heart, in your very soul, that what you think is true, and you’ll be all right.’  Why, he even quoted scripture!

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Well let me rock your boat… that is if you’re a Christian who only thinks you know God and that everything will be all right!

Firstly, there’s no Dr Andre Tessier! The above is but my recollection of a scene between German-American actor Felix Bressart, pricelessly portraying this psychologist, and his troubled friend, that famous Thin Man series actor William Powell, in the excellent silver screen 1942 movie, Crossroads!

Secondly, while it’s great that the Bible is referred to in this movie as the greatest source of wisdom, unfortunately the quoted scripture wasn’t translated well enough in the ‘old’ KJV used!

If you read the verse in full you’ll note that ‘heart’ is mentioned twice. The first Hebrew word being nephesh and the second leb. For a good explanation of these words, read Dr Jim McClure’s excellent teaching article this month – Word Meanings- Nephesh and Leb in which he points out that the NIV reads much clearer: ‘For he is the kind of man who is always thinking about the cost… but his heart is not with you.’

I like that version, also the Good News Bible ‘…but he doesn’t mean it. What he thinks is what he really is.’ The Message calls such a person ‘stingy.’ In other words, that sort of person is always only considering themselves, always ‘inwardly calculating’(NASB) what it costs to be generous to others. Consequently Dr Tessier’s emphasised advice is wrong.

Thirdly… well you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. I’m addressing certain Christians who wrongly thinking that just because they ‘know of’ God, everything is okay.

Sadly so many Christians know of God, but don’t really know Him personally, intimately! Oh they’ve accepted Jesus but haven’t developed a meaningful relationship with the God!

Knowing of… knowing personally? What do you mean, you ask? When Philip asked about knowing God, Jesus answered,  ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”?’ (John 14:9ESV).

I’ll explain it in a down-to-earth way…

Personal experience
My darling Maureen and I just celebrated our 61st wedding anniversary. So many people congratulating us, commented, ‘Wow! That doesn’t happen these days!’ True, but we confess we owe everything to God… and not just knowing about each other but personally knowing and trusting each other!

Almost 65 years ago I’d only heard of Maureen. Through dating each weekday via phone calls, luncheon catch-ups and evenings out somewhere (No car back then, just walks together under low European skies and stars, even though heavy rain, and having to get Maureen home by ten, church together Sundays, sharing Bible truths and such), I got to know her personally… how she thought, her genuineness, expectations, dreams, likes, dislikes, preferences, reliance on God and deep trust in Him. No wonder I fell in love with Maureen so quickly and we were engaged in two weeks, still young’uns!

Years of married life with its ups-and-downs, parenthood, grandparenthood, great-grandparenthood, and ministering together, we really got to know one another deeply, journeying together through life’s experiences, caring for each other as the other wishes or we sense (Maureen of course knowing me better that I know her!), doing what needs to be done, having pleasure in every new day, especially in our senior years.

Yes, we not only know about each other, we deeply know each other intimately. To use that street-smart saying, ‘I know that I know that I know that I know that I know’ this precious lady who loves me so much that I know that all will always be all right… no matter what goes amiss!

Meaningful relationship with God
Knowing of God doesn’t really work. Knowing Him personally does! This means having such a close relationship with Him that, to use that street-smart phrase above, ‘You know that you know …’ in a deep, intimate way that all will be all right because you’ve encountered Him in very special ways over many years.

Secular thinking about intimacy links the word with sex, but as the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s first definition reads, Intimacy is ‘marked by a warm friendship developing through long association.’

When you have a long meaningful relationship with the unseen Almighty God, you so know that He is real, there for you no matter what goes down! Thinking you’re okay because you’ve taken the first step and accepted Jesus ‘and that’s all that matters’ isn’t enough. You must personally, deeply know it!

Build the relationship through…
1) Reading God’s word

Use a modern Bible of your choice (Yes, I still have a 1611 KJV and even older 1560 Geneva Bible! But I prefer my NIV and Message!) E-Sword computer multi-version is a great resource but… reading your Bible regularly is the thing!

2) Fellowship
You don’t have to go to Bible college to understand God’s word – unless you wish to become a minister. If covid safe, attend a good Bible teaching church and learn great biblically-centred truths that will help you grow in your Christianity. If house-bound, watch good TV sermons where God’s word is central and clearly expounded (not ‘shows’ seeking donations for the already rich).

3) Praying believingly
This doesn’t mean longwinded prayers (Matthew 6:7-8)! My personal best prayers are three words… ‘Help, Holy Spirit!’ Worship and thank God, then make needs known… always closing with ‘In Jesus’ name, Amen’ (John 16:24).

4) Knowing the Holy Spirit
He’s our greatest helper in knowing God! Filled with Him (Acts 2), you’ll ofttimes sense His gentle whisper leading, directing.

5) Trusting God
You fully can – knowing Him in a personal way! You’ll be enabled to handle life’s troubles, and whatever He calls you to do in His kingdom.

Always remember Him!
in the depths of your heart, your soul, that He really is there, loving and caring about us! Experience God and truths about Him to the extent that you just know that you know that you know His promises are for real, that He won’t ever let us down even if He doesn’t answer every prayer immediately or how we would like it answered.

Despite all the terrible ongoing troubles across our world, God is still in charge and His eye is not only on the sparrow but on us (Luke 12:6-7, Matthew 5:25-34) and He will bring us through every dark hour, every disastrous situation… if we will really know Him deeply enough to fully trust Him, believing in Him, and praising His holy name!

Remember Jesus’ direction of Matthew 22:37? Message Bible really brings out the deep meaning of soul-trust : ‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion, prayer, and intelligence.’ 

Don’t just claim, ‘Oh yes, I know God’ but know Him personally, intimately, intelligently in the depths of their heart!

Yes, it’s good to know who we really are, to believe in ourselves and our future! But… really knowing God and experiencing Him! Knowing who He is, committing everything to Him, worshipping and following, relying on, discovering His plans for us, casting every care on Him… and so much more, knowing that we can fully trust Him and be about His business, His calling whatever that may be –

Now that is what ‘And that’s all that matters’ really means, Dr Tessier! Cost? Jesus paid it all on Calvary!

‘Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you’ 1 Peter 5:7Mge. Memory: Pat Boone was in Movieguide® (mail@movieguide.org) recently… back when I first met Maureen, I bought a 45rpm record of his Just a Closer Walk With Thee A very meaningful song today!

Dr Robert McQuillan’s links are OnlinerConnect@gmail.com and Facebook


  1. Thanks for this clear challenge to ‘know Him.’ I read a little snippet recently ‘the age of information has become the age of confusion — too much KNOW HOW — and hardly any KNOW WHY. Really appreciated your personal illustration about relationship and I agree, while we may be imperfect men and women, with the Holy Spirit’s enabling we can be – as that Pat Boone song you refer to says – ‘daily walking close to Thee, let it be Dear Lord let it be.’

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s