21. Aspiring to Knowledge (2)

Aspiring Meditations: 21.  Aspiring to Knowledge (2)

Prov 1:7   The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge

Prov 10:14   Wise men store up knowledge.

Isa 11:2  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him… the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD

Phil 1:9,10  And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,

Having just picked up on ‘understanding’ from another list, I realised that we had not covered one of the other two ‘cousins’, wisdom, but as I do that, I sense a need to revisit the third of the cousins, knowledge, which we did consider in study no,5 and so now, forgive me if we pick up on knowledge again. At first sight, it appears so obvious as not to need this coverage but I suspect that that is not true, for two reasons: first because so many Christians do not aspire to knowledge and we therefore need to cover it again and, second, knowledge is so fundamental to the Christian walk, that we need to doubly make sure we understand its significance and importance.

Knowledge, as we said in the previous study, is about perceiving facts, collecting information. In this information world, we probably ‘know’ more things a hundred times over more than people of say a hundred years ago.  But therein is the danger, for as the apostle Paul said, “We know that we all possess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God.” (1 Cor 8:1-3)

That is rather a handful but he is basically saying that if you think you know everything, you are in fact ignorant and are possibly the living proof that “knowledge puffs up.”  The truth is that however much we know, it is, in the whole scheme of things, very little. Solomon understood something of this when he wrote that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.” (Prov 1:7) That fits in with the verses we have just seen where Paul says, “The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.”  He ought to know that acquiring knowledge ought to start with knowing God, and knowing how great He is, for this will produce the ‘fear’ or ‘respect’ that Solomon refers to. The man who is ignorant of God lacks knowledge.

With that starting point in place, then the wise man does collect knowledge, if we may put it like that. (see Prov 10:14) Why should that be? Well let’s take the person who comes to Christ. Their starting point is recognising in relationship to God they are imperfect, a sinner. Moreover, they have come to see the Lord’s greatness, and bowing before Him they accept the salvation He provides through His Son Jesus Christ. So there we were, born again, new believers. Is that the end? Certainly not. It is the beginning of a life of learning. – or at least that is what we would hope it would be for all believers – learning how we are saved, for what are we saved and how this salvation will be worked out in the rest of our lives. That is what the New Testament is all about, which is why it is tragic that so few believers read their Bible on a daily basis.

When you consider that the apostle Paul taught that all Scripture, “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,” (2 Tim 3:16), where new believers fail to accumulate knowledge, i.e. they fail to learn what God’s will involves, it also means, in accordance with this verse, that they fail to be taught, they fail to let God’s word challenge (rebuke) or correct them, and they fail to let it train or disciple them in what it means to be righteous. Moreover, they will never come to the point of being able to teach others, which is another goal we’ll need to look at, that the Bible speaks about. Paul saw a direct link between having knowledge and being able to instruct others: “I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.” (Rom 15:14) It is a fairly logical link.

For the (new) believer, increasing knowledge is essential if they are to grow, knowledge of the goals that God has for them, and knowledge of how those goals can be achieved: “as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us.” (2 Cor 8:7) Paul was very specific about this: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way.” (Col 1:9,10) Now that is interesting because it links knowledge to wisdom and understanding. When it comes to God’s will, we start out with the basic knowledge of what He wants for us (for example, to love one another) but as His Holy Spirit works within us, He will show us how this can be worked out (wisdom) and the significance of it (understanding) i.e. to impact one another with His blessing to make a better world.

Now before we finish we have to note an important distinction: knowledge about God and knowledge of God. The Queen of Sheba, for example had knowledge about God when she came to King Solomon (see 1 Kings 10) but believers, now indwelt by the Holy Spirit have knowledge of God, i.e. experience of Him. Consider the words of the apostle Peter: Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” (2 Pet 1:2,3) This knowledge is experiential, i.e. it is about our encounter with Him.

Now this is true of every believer because to be a born-again believer we have to be indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Now perhaps we need to make another distinction: first of all, those Christians for whom the work of the Holy Spirit in them is, in psychological terms, more of a sub-conscious thing, i.e. they aren’t aware of what is happening, their guidance is more simple response without thought or understanding. But, second, there are those believers who learn to draw near to God, to become sensitive to the moving and gentle speaking of the Spirit from within and therefore their life is a far more cooperative thing, with them being aware of the Spirit’s directing, and then being specifically obedient to His leading. This knowledge of God becomes a very much more conscious thing.

So do I need to convince myself that I need to aspire more to knowledge about God and of God? No, I am convinced! I need to maintain my reading of His word and reading of others in the spiritual sphere, and I need to seek to develop my sensitivity to His presence that I may be more knowledgeable of Him as He expresses His plans and purposes for me. All I’ve got to do now, is just get on and do it. And you?

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