This post is the 5th in a 6-part series on Idolizing Knowledge. Read the rest of the posts here.
Once upon a time I earned a B- in a tough course on Biblical Literature. It was the lowest final grade I’d ever earned. I had studied- hard. I felt all the rush of competing with classmates who invited me to their study sessions even though they all knew what the heck a “prophetic” book was and I was still trying to pronounce “day-oot-or-no-me” properly.
A couple of years later, I was well on my way to adding a Bible minor to my degree.
There was a problem, though.
All my knowledge of the Bible, my spiritual leadership positions, and my wisdom on pleasing everybody in the name of Jesus weren’t fulfilling. I was still empty.
Knowledge, even knowledge about God, wasn’t able to save me. Smarts on Scripture didn’t secure my soul. Understanding of sin couldn’t get me out of it.
I needed a different kind of knowing. I needed relating, trusting, relying, nearness. I needed the person of Christ. And I needed Him to save me.
When I entrusted all my bloated brain and shriveled heart to the One who knows it all, I found the only thing that’s really fulfilling: a relationship with the everlasting, almighty, perfect God.
For those of us who idolize knowledge, it’s hard to accept that information will never fulfill us on its own.
In the first post of this series, I proposed that knowing all about surgery didn’t qualify me to perform it. Knowing a surgeon wouldn’t qualify me either.
Knowledge isn’t meant to stay still. Knowledge needs to be in action to be fruitful.
This was the grievous error James so succinctly called out:
“Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only.” –James 1:22
Saving knowledge is knowledge of Christ responded to.
Sanctifying knowledge is knowledge of God learned from and acted on.
Growing knowledge is knowledge of the Spirit expanding through personal experience with the Spirit Himself.
Loving knowledge is knowledge of the love of God transforming the way we live and speak the truth.
The list goes on.
Idolatry makes us greedy. Idolizing knowledge turns us into information-hoarders.
When we think we know a lot and are learning tons, we’re unlikely to test information against the Scriptures. We’re unlikely to control our tongues, blazing with fun facts as they are. What we are likely to do is “establish a righteousness” of our own, given that we need someplace to showcase all the knowledge we’ve collected. Hoarding our treasure troves of facts, what we gain we’ll only lose because knowledge serves no purpose on a shelf and out of use.
Knowledge is just one in a long list of qualities we’re to increase in.
“For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control…For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” –2 Peter 1:5-8 (emphasis mine)
Even with knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, we can be ineffective and unproductive. Knowledge alone doesn’t make us helpful to the Gospel. Information alone doesn’t fulfill what’s needed to make us fruitful in Christ.
The next verse goes on to warn that without these qualities- which are many more than just knowledge- we get nearsighted. So nearsighted we’re blinded.
Knowledge is often pictured as light- and just as with light, staring too intently at brilliance makes everything go dark.
Knowledge was never meant to fulfill us apart from Christ. When we try to let it fill us anyway- we end up bloated with emptiness.
We know the One who does fill us and fulfill us. We get to know Him personally. We are blessed to find all fullness in Him, loading us with and lighting up for us to see what we need to love, and serve, and glorify Him.
Let knowledge of Him alone lead to worship of Him alone! <Click to Tweet>
Are you getting to know God better? Does that help you worry less about feeling fulfilled?
Join me (<–click here) to delve deeper into shattering the idol of knowledge to take hold of knowledge as God intends it to be
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