Christians are often regarded as “Know-It-All”s by the faithless, because of the confidence we place in the knowledge of God and all things spiritual. Maybe it could also have something to do with how we seem to have an answer for everything…or how hard it is to get us to say “I don’t know”. As people of Faith, “we know that we know” many things. Faith used in this way is a type of knowledge…an assurance that it will be a happy ending after all, no matter what the journey throws at us.
Having faith really doesn’t mean that you know it all. It simply means that, even the things you don’t know, you have confidence in the One who knows to make it known in time, or to grant you the information required for you to handle whatever’s coming. Faith would actually not exist if you did know! No one recalls their name by faith, except if they just arose from a coma. As Christians are called to live by faith, not knowing is going to be our continuous experience. No matter how much we come to know, there will be many more things we are yet to know…
Unfortunately, it still remains that it is hard to get a Christian to say “I don’t know”. Especially when they are trying to convince someone else to believe and accept their understanding of God and Christianity. An authourity is someone who knows all there is to know about a subject, and well, you really can’t be an authourity on Christianity if you don’t know everything. And the problem with people who resist belief and try to make Christians drop their professed faith is the challenge that they must know it all, otherwise, why should they be so confident, and why should others believe them?!
Actually, Jesus Christ, who is the Authourity on Christianity did not claim to know it all either. Jesus actually admitted when He didn’t know something (Mark 13:32). And He was humble enough to say that everything He spoke was given to Him of God to speak (John 12:49). He was humble enough to pray to receive new knowledge, understanding and wisdom from the Father, and direction on how to go about His ministry (Luke 6:12-13). By His humility and dependency on God, He showed why it is needful for us not to know everything…
It is written that “knowledge puffs up, but charity edifies” (1 Cor 8:1). Knowledge has the tendency to make us proud, and so the giving of knowledge from God is partial, to help keep us humble and dependent on Him. We know that pride goes before a fall (Prov 16:18), so by holding back knowledge, God is safe-guarding us from ourselves. Paul went on to say “and if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know” (1 Cor 8:2). Even the things that we know…unless we are God, we can’t even claim all understanding of it, and if we think we know it all, we will truly underestimate the ONLY ONE who knows it all and suffer a mighty fall! That is why knowledge of science without submission to God is fatal to your salvation.
However, God is pleased to give us wisdom to overflowing! Wisdom does not need to have all knowledge… Wisdom is actually the rightful application of any knowledge (Charles Spurgeon). Wisdom doesn’t make anyone proud, and no one is in danger of having too much wisdom. We are invited to ask God for wisdom (Jam 1:5). We are advised to seek after wisdom, as the principle thing (Prov 4:7). Wisdom and love, like I have written before, are two sides of the same coin. When we have wisdom, we know love; and when we act in love, we act with wisdom. The greater one’s wisdom, the greater their humility…because wisdom is reliant on a relationship with God, and you can’t know God and be proud!
But it seems everyone is obsessed with knowing! Knowledge seems to be the currency in this world. They say “knowledge is power”, so as they strive for power, they seek to gain all knowledge and hoard it to use against others. Though we are not to shun knowledge nor reject it…we must first receive wisdom, so that when we gain knowledge, we will be able to rightly use it, and grow in our understanding of all things.
I am not afraid to admit that I don’t know many things. Even about Christianity. I enjoy my walk of faith, and the little discoveries I make along the way that change even what I thought I knew. The only thing I take comfort in KNOWING is God (Phil 3:8), because with Him I can gain wisdom, knowledge and understanding of all things. I don’t know all truth, but I am on that journey, and I suppose I will continue to be on that journey, even after I see God face to face. However, when we think we have known it all, we stop learning and growing…and well we soon discover that we knew nothing at all (Matt 26:29)!
It amazes me that many people, especially Christians, appear to be on a crusade to learn everything there is to know about a subject that God has already promised they will not discover! Jesus said, concerning His own second coming, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only” (Mark 13:32; Matt 24:36). Jesus promised that the day shall come as a thief in the night (Rev 16:15). But so many people obsessed with Bible prophecy will tell you that they can “calculate” to the day when the end will come.
Why the obsession with knowing? Can’t we trust God to lead us day by day…? Is that not the path of faith we are called to tread?
“Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Heb 10:38).
Being watchful and prepared does not require that we know everything there is to know about that day and the hour. However, what we do when we create our perfect timelines and maps is set ourselves up for a fall… We loose our dependency on the Spirit and our humility, and ultimately stop walking by faith. Yes, Jesus said that we should observe the signs and know that the day is near (Luke 21:31)… Knowing that it is near, increases our expectation and dependency on God, it pushes us to be persistent with our preaching of the gospel…but not knowing the day or the hour will stop us from being arrogant and complacent “Know-It-All”s.
This and many other things that Christians claim to know cause division in God’s House (Tit 3:9). In the abundance of knowledge, wisdom and love seems to be lacking. Can we be content like Jesus to not know everything? Can we be content to speak with confidence only the things God has revealed to us to share, and not profess to know things that are beyond our understanding? The search for truth calls for continuous humility in realising that you are dependent on God to know what you do know, and to retain knowledge and understanding so as to be in a position to learn more.
We don’t have to win every argument. There is humilty in not knowing, and foolishness in knowing too much. If the unbeliever demands that you prove all that you know, so they can come to know too…speak to them these wise words from our Lord:
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 18:3).
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