Tag Archives: knowledge

You are more alone than you could ever imagine.

Ear­lier today I was lis­ten­ing to the News­boys on Spo­tify and an ad ban­ner popped up:

Discover which music is trending with your friends.

 

When I saw this I real­ized how alone and iso­lated we all truly feel. Per­haps that’s why social media is so ram­pant; in an attempt to feel inti­macy we’ve become hyper-connected. The prob­lem is that our social cir­cles have become very wide, but very, very shal­low. It’s almost as if the ad is telling me that now it’s no longer good enough to just lis­ten to music alone, now I also need to know what my friends are lis­ten­ing to. Strange, right?

If you don’t believe me or think I’m read­ing too much into a sim­ple mar­ket­ing gim­mick, take a moment to think about the per­son who knows you best. Per­haps it’s a par­ent or a sib­ling or a spouse. How well do they really know you? For exam­ple, my beau­ti­ful wife prob­a­bly knows about 5% of who I really am. She’s known me just over 5 years, so almost a 1/5 of my life. We were sep­a­rated 1.5 years of that due to deploy­ments. We don’t spend every wak­ing hour together, and even when we are together I don’t tell her every sin­gle thing that I think about. She doesn’t know  what hap­pened every sin­gle day of my life before I met her and she only knows a small por­tion of the days we do spend together.

So how well does my wife truly know me? And how well do I truly know my wife? And how well does that per­son truly know you? How fully and truly do we know any­one? Proverbs 14:10 affirms this when it says “The heart knows its own bit­ter­ness and no stranger shares its joy.” The Hebrew word for heart doesn’t just mean your emo­tional cen­ter or some­thing like that; the heart is the total essence of you as a per­son. The heart is the self that you know and, even deeper, the self that you don’t even know. The heart is who you truly and wholly are and it knows its own bit­ter­ness and no one can fully share its joy. Feel­ing alone yet?

And yet I find great com­fort in this thought. I don’t try to com­pen­sate by telling my wife every­thing in hopes that she’ll under­stand me. Nor do I con­stantly ask my wife what she’s think­ing so I can know her. Why? Because I rest in the firm knowl­edge that God does know me. Tim Keller, in The Wounded Spirit, said that “if you don’t have an inti­mate, per­sonal rela­tion­ship with God, you are utterly alone in the world.” And he’s right!

The com­fort­ing truth is that God knows me bet­ter than I know my self. Read Psalm 139 and you’ll quickly see what I mean. In verse 1, David says “O LORD, you have searched me and known me!” The word for search here means some­thing like “spy; probe; search; exam­ine; explore; sound out; see through; be explored; investigate.” God hasn’t just searched you out and found you, He’s also searched you within and knows you com­pletely. God knows us to a degree that is impos­si­ble for us to know one another or even our­selves. The descrip­tion continues:

“you dis­cern my thoughts from afar.

3You search out my path and my lying down

and are acquainted with all my ways.

4Even before a word is on my tongue,

behold, O LORD, you know it alto­gether.“

(Psalm 139:2b-4)

God knows our thoughts before we have them because He knows the minds that pro­duce them. God knows all our ways far bet­ter than even we do. In fact, God knows us so well that He knows what we’re going to say before we do. David paints this won­der­ful pic­ture of God being with us from the moment we fall asleep to the moment we wake up (I awake, and I am still with you. Psalm 139:18b).

Wikipedia defines lone­li­ness as “an unpleas­ant feel­ing in which a per­son expe­ri­ences a strong sense of empti­ness and soli­tude result­ing from inad­e­quate lev­els of social rela­tion­ships.” Our great com­fort is that we’re never truly alone. In fact, we’re never, ever alone. Not if we know God. The Per­son who knows us bet­ter than we know our­selves is with us always; He will never leave us nor for­sake us. May you be com­forted by the knowl­edge that God does know you and He is always with you.

Puffy Christians – 1 Corinthians 8:1

I’m so spiritual and enlightened!
I am all for learning more about God, the Bible, theology, and pretty much anything you can that will draw you closer to God. In my life I’ve noticed a problem that gets bigger the more I learn; the problem is pride. Specifically, the problem is pride as a result of knowledge. It’s easy to think, “wow, I’ve learned so much more than other people; I’m so spiritual and enlightened!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God? I love my classes, but the biggest, most lethal pitfall I have to avoid is getting puffy.
How can they not know this?!

In 1 Corinthians 8, Paul is addressing the eating of meat sacrificed to idols and he starts his instruction by acknowledging that “we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.'” (1 Cor 8:1) The Corinthians had developed a prideful attitude with regards to the knowledge they posessed. They were thinking things like, “Well of course, everyone should know that idols represent a God that doesn’t exist. Duh!” Or maybe, “It’s obvious we can eat the meat because their gods don’t exist; how can they not know this?!” But really, does that sound like a humble heart? Are those types of thoughts even from God?
Are you a puffy Christian?

Paul lovingly continues his instruction by cautioning them that “This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up.” (1 Cor 8:1b) A modern way of saying this, and something I’ve heard several times is “The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” Paul continues teaching by explaining how the puffy Corinthians were causing less-knowledgeable Christians to struggle because they were eating food sacrificed to idols. They thought their freedom to eat a steak was more important than the spiritual growth of their brothers and sisters in Christ! This is not a real issue for us in America (although we could talk about alcohol as a modern example), but it’s the idea of being puffy I want to look at.
“The longest journey a man must take is the eighteen inches from his head to his heart.” How very, very true this is for me! Maybe I’m the only dirt bag who struggles in this area, but I have to constantly check to see how “puffy” I’m getting. For example, when you read a verse, is your first impulse to use it against someone else or is it to see how it can be applied to your life? I’ll be honest: my first thought is not always how a verse relates to me but how someone else really needs to hear it! So ask yourself: Are you a puffy Christian?

We can break others down or build them up.

If you think you might be a little puffy from time to time, then I encourage you to use your knowledge to love people and build them up, not to inflate yourself and stay puffy. There’s a difference between knowledge and wisdom. A wise person will use their knowledge to build up those around them. Warren W. Wiersbe, in The Bible Exposition Commentary, says it like this:
“The little child who is afraid of the dark will not be assured by arguments, especially if the adult (or older brother) adopts a superior attitude. Knowledge can be a weapon to fight with or a tool to build with, depending on how it is used.”
Do you see the two options we’re given? We can either use knowledge against others or for them. We can break others down or build them up. Do you use knowledge to puff yourself up or to build others up? Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. In 2 Peter 3:18, Peter closes his teaching the same way I’ll conclude this entry: by urging us all to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”