The Things We Love: Knowledge vs. Wisdom

This particular topic has always been difficult for me. Being a person who thrives on knowledge, I love to dig into and analyze any topic that interests me. But this thirst for knowledge has its setbacks. For one, it can lead to an obsession with having the answers. I believe that the answers are there just waiting to be found. I can lose myself sometimes in search of answers, particularly when it comes to figuring out the world today.

I have become a regular consumer of news over the past year. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it’s good to be aware of the world around us. The question is when to draw the line. With access to 24 hour news and news apps, information is never too far away. And let’s be honest, 2020 was bursting with tragic, scandalous, and frightening news. It’s been more gripping than a suspenseful TV series. It had a cliffhanging season finale and we have only started season 2! No wonder more of us than ever are tuning in on a regular basis, you don’t want to miss anything. But I have to stand back from time to time to see what it is doing to me.

“Worry is a cycle of inefficient thoughts whirling around a center of fear.” 

Corrie Ten Boom

The truth is even though I can’t determine who is right or wrong from a brief news series, my opinion is immediately impacted. Logically, I know that there is much more to any given situation than the few minutes devoted to it on a broadcast. But emotionally, I am tempted to draw conclusions that may be false. If I don’t filter the information I access fear begins to replace peace. And what am I doing with this information other than feeling paralyzed? Is it making a constructive change in my life or in the lives around me? This reminded me of Paul’s words to the Corinthians.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive.

Corinthians 10:23

Just because I can know more doesn’t mean I should. The more I know about the state of the world the more hopeless I can become. It can feel like the problems are so big that one regular person could never make a difference. I can’t change the world. I can’t feed all of the starving and needy people. I can’t bring peace to our nation. But I heard some real words of wisdom yesterday at church.

“Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the person nearest you.”

Mother Theresa

I realize that at times I get lost in the bigger picture and I miss what is right in front of me. I need to re-order my priorities, which may mean fasting from the news for a while. Instead of focusing on the problems of the world, I can use this time to refocus on the needs of those around me. That is where I can make a difference. And the world can be changed by one regular person. Jesus is a perfect example of world change through acts of love. When we show love to the people in our everyday lives it spreads, because that love is contagious.

Disconnecting from newsfeeds may solve one problem, but my desire for knowledge doesn’t stop with this world. I often act as though a careful reading of the Bible will somehow reveal all of God’s mysteries. As though I my intellect could ever fathom his true nature or his plans! I could consume all of the information in this world and still not see the answers. This is just another example of my sinful pride.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

In reality, I understand God best when I come to him in humility and brokenness. To truly see and understand God requires seeing with eyes of faith. Wisdom comes from acceptance that we can’t and won’t know all the answers, but we know the one who does. This is why so much of the Bible is shrouded is symbolism and parables. You cannot understand God by learning more about him, to know Jesus you have to walk with him.

He replied, “The mystery of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to those on the outside everything is expressed in parables, so that, ‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven.’ ”

Mark 4:11-12

Seeing the world through eyes of faith changes your perspective. Even in the midst of the storm, I know that God has a purpose. I trust that even if I never know or understand it, He is using both the good and bad to fulfill his plan. Knowledge can provide us with answers, but only God can provide wisdom and insight.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding

Psalm 3:5

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