Knowledge has become the narcotic of choice that the Christian community runs to when it wants to get high. There, I said it. Do you have any idea how long I had to stare at a blinking cursor before I finally found a way to express my true sentiment? If this opening statement comes across as slightly offensive, you should probably save yourself a lot of angst and not read any further. I’m afraid you won’t like the picture I’m about to create when coloring way outside the lines drawn by the Christian status quo.
Do you realize that without implementation, information adds no value to your life? What good is it if you can recite all the commandments of God but cannot live them? What benefit comes from knowing all the stories in the bible if your life lives stressed and overwhelmed? Wouldn’t living stress free be better than knowing the Greek word the bible translates “peace” from?
A person who follows a series of steps to correct a character issue never experiences any lasting transformation.
In the world, gaining knowledge and the proper sequence of doing things can make you a better sales person or executive or whatever. But this experience doesn’t translate into the spiritual realm. That’s because the proof of a moment-by-moment abiding relationship with Jesus comes not in what you know and recite, but rather in how you live. And to “live” spiritually didn’t come with the package you received at birth. Your life arrived empty.
A narcotic is anything that blunts the senses. Taken in excess, narcotics create a euphoric high, leading to an addiction. With the addiction comes the need for an even larger dose of the substance today in order to get the same buzz that yesterday offered.
[pullquote]Jesus is the verb your life needs. He is the action element your life is missing.[/pullquote]
Do you know why it’s so tempting to get spiritually high on knowledge and Christian doctrine? Because knowing all the right doctrinal positions blunts any awareness of the lack of power one might have in living the Christian life in the first place. Discussing biblical doctrine diverts attention away from a life that doesn’t measure up.
Let me go back to the examples in the world. You can learn the steps to a better golf swing, or how to bake a wonderful tasting soufflé, and then through implementing your knowledge, enjoy the fruits of your labor whether that be on the golf course or at the dinner table.
But you can’t do the same spiritually. That’s because in the Christian life, no matter how hard you try, implementing the spiritual into your life doesn’t fall on your side of the responsibility ledge. It falls on God’s. And trying to do God’s work for Him simply pushes your life further off course.
For example, has all the knowledge you’ve accumulated over the years about prayer, worship, and bible study shooed away from your life all the fear, anxiety, and worry? Has your knowledge and understanding about spiritual gifts overcome any greed or jealousy you might be harboring? Has the proper view of the end-times slain the beast of pride that lurks just below the surface?
The pursuit of spiritual knowledge distracts the real issues in the Christian life.
It’s not about what you know, but what you can live. The power resides not in the one who knows, but in the one who does.
That’s why when it comes to the aspect of Christian character, the power to “do” and “implement” resides with God. If you want that power, you must go to Him.
I know what you’re thinking. You have past experiences whereby through your own self-effort you’ve seen a change come about in your life. Maybe through information gathering, self-discipline, and staying accountable to others, you’ve overcome anger, fear, lust, or whatever held you captive. You are no longer addicted to what you previously were.
But here’s the little secret no one told you. If you ever return to the addiction, your appetite for it will be the same as if you had never quit. For example, on a scale of one-to-ten, if a person who stops looking at pornography is at three, but then returns to the addiction five years later, instead of picking back up at four, the person actually begins at an eight. It’s as if the person never stopped. That’s why when people who for years have not indulged in past sins all of a sudden begin gorging themselves, the experience leaves all the friends and family members shocked at their behavior.
So what is a person who has stopped an addiction in self-effort to do? (Jesus)
Why does addiction work this way? With self-effort as the source, the flesh controls by either focusing the person on the sin or addiction, or by focusing the person to stay away from the sin or addiction. In both instances the flesh is in control. Whether or not the person actually partakes of the sin is of no consequence—the flesh continues to advance at will.
The allure of knowledge and information captivates a person with the belief that the power to change lies within. But it doesn’t. You can acquire all the Christian knowledge you want, but none of it has the power to transform your life.
If transformation is the goal, yet Christian knowledge cannot change your character, where does the power rest?
Jesus is the verb your life needs. He is the action element your life is missing. Jesus has defeated sin, and each moment you abide in Him, He breaks the demands your flesh makes on you.
I imagine you don’t want a life filled with knowledge without the necessary power to go along with it. Knowing what to do or not to do without the necessary power accompanying the knowledge is a curse.
It is implementation and not information that transforms a life. Jesus’ life flowing through you is your implementer.
“Jesus, I can’t, but You can; come do in my life what I cannot do,” are far more powerful words than asking Jesus to help you or to give you the power over a sin. Jesus isn’t in the helping business, nor does He want to loan you His power. What He wants is for you to completely turn yourself over to Him so He can be the single source in your life.
Which would you rather have, knowledge about how to defeat sin, or the One who has defeated sin controlling your life? Do you want to study and research about spiritual power, or do you want the One who possesses the power wielding it in your life?
Only Jesus transforms the spiritual drug-user addicted to knowledge. I know, because He transformed me.
(Transformation occurs as intimacy with the Lord increases. Watch this quick video to discover how God brings intimacy into the relationship.)