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Pointers along the way #221

Living from a knowledge base
- Jacob Ninan

With the coming of computers and the spread of the internet, 'knowledge base' has become a common phrase, and the 21st century is hailed as the beginning of a knowledge based society. Knowledge gives one 'power,' and the IT savvy guys have an edge over the others. This way of life seems to apply even in the spiritual realm, as those who are better read and have more knowledge of the jargon seem to be more powerful as servants of God. If you also have the gift of the gab, you are made out for it, guys! But is this the way of the Lord?

God predicted through Daniel that in the last days knowledge would increase, as also travelling (Da.12:4). But place by side with this the prediction that there would be a famine for the hearing word of the Lord (Am.8:11). Applying this to our Christian life, we see that while knowledge of the word of God has increased to an all time high, possibly very few are actually hearing directly from God. Trying to separate chaff from the grain, we could consider distinctions between 'head knowledge' and 'experiential knowledge,' 'written word' and 'rhema word,' 'first hand revelation' and 'second hand knowledge,' 'superficial knowledge' and 'in-depth knowledge,' 'knowledge to preach or write about' and 'knowledge to live by,' etc.

The right type of knowledge is something God values very much, as can be seen throughout Scripture. Think of it as the knowledge of the Lord and His ways that is intertwined with our daily life. This is coupled with the fear (reverence) of the Lord, integrity, uprightness, sincerity, discernment and the fruit of the Spirit. People with this kind of knowledge are very rare, but that is our goal to become as sons and daughters of God. How easy it is to feel smug and comfortable with mere knowledge and a reputation for it!

This kind of knowledge can come only by sitting before the Lord and listening to Him (like Mary - Lk.10:39), walking before Him (Ge.17:1), judging oneself in the light of the Lord (1Co.4:4), seeking for it as for hidden treasures (Pr.2:4,5), meditating on the word of God (Ps.119:99), and listening to correction (Pr.1:23;15:32). Acquisition of knowledge has to go in line with application and life itself. This is where we can deceive ourselves. The more knowledge we acquire, the tendency is to get puffed up (1Co.8:1) and to imagine that we have also reached the level of life that the particular aspect of knowledge represents. 'Life' follows from knowledge only when we put it to practice in the testing situations of life. Sitting in an armchair with knowledge of great truths in our mind is different from acting according to those truths when we are tested. It is very humbling to recognise that the lofty principles we have held or even preached to others are not automatically strong enough to help us to make the right choices in practical life. Spiritual muscles can be built up only through exercise. How we need to daily depend on the grace of God to be able to carry out this exercise!