Friday, March 23, 2012
Know it all?!
1Cor. 8:2 Anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge;
1Cor. 8:3 but anyone who loves God is known by him.
Paul is talking to the church about deep mysteries, combined with freedom in Christ. There is incredible freedom which comes with living in Christ. We are no longer bound by the law, or by lists of "do's" and "don'ts." At the same time, the freedom comes from having knowledge at a different level. If we think we are extremely educated, we don't have the "necessary knowledge." This is not the source of true knowledge. True knowledge comes when we are known by God. That is because when we submit ourselves to God, he invites us to participate in the relationship found within the Holy Trinity. In doing so we are known by God, and we are able to put on the mind of Christ. Therefore knowledge has nothing to do with education, but rather, with being in God!
Education was important to many of the people of Paul's day. Corinth wasn't that far away from Athens where he sat up on Mars Hill and chatted with the intellectuals of the city. People were proud of their educational status and enjoyed having in-depth conversations with one another. Paul wanted these people to know that this was not the kind of knowledge that mattered in the new kingdom. This new, counter-cultural, kingdom was constantly turning things upside down. This included turning around what it meant to have knowledge. Human knowledge will only take us so far in life. However, God's knowledge, the knowledge of the creator of the universe is so far beyond anything we could ever imagine that our human knowledge is nothing in comparison. Therefore, we should never boast about our human knowledge or education.
Real knowledge is God's knowledge. Every human being, no matter their status in life, is invited to participate in God. It doesn't matter if you are Jew or Greek, slave or free, male and female -- everyone of us can be "in Christ." Paul states it so simply -- the way that we participate in God, or the way that we are known by him, is to love him! This is passionate, all-out love for God, where we give ourselves to him sacrificially on a daily basis.
This is a period of time where a number of pastors have suddenly found themselves out of work. The massive shifts in Christianity are creating economic conditions that make it difficult for many to continue in the ministry. However, one of the saddest things I've heard is of those who say that without their "vocational" ministry they discovered they had no personal relationship with God. Our relationship with God is not about service to him -- or studying for sermons -- or ministering to other people. The responsibility of every single individual who wants to journey with God is to abandon ourselves to falling deeply in love with him. This is the number one job of a missionary, a pastor, a church leader, an insurance salesman, a schoolteacher, a computer tech, a shoe salesman, an educator, etc.
We have no knowledge to do the things that we do, apart from God. If we think we "know it all" and that we can make our own strategic plans for the things "we" plan to accomplish, we are wrong. We must trust in him, fall in love with him, and give ourselves completely to him before we can even begin to comprehend the things that he has planned. Apart from him, we know nothing!
Lord, I give myself away to you this day in deep abandonment to your great love. Amen.