Don’t Know it All? What an Incredible Blessing!
Devotional Thought of the Day:
8 *Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing. 9 For we know partially and we prophesy partially, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. 12 At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.g 13 *So faith, hope, love remain, these three;h but the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor. 13:8-13 New American Bible. Revised Edition.
152 Don’t you sense that more peace and more union await you when you have corresponded to that extraordinary grace that requires complete detachment? Struggle for him to please him, but strengthen your hope.
As our Wednesday Night Bible Study has been meandering through the Acts of the Apostles, the last two weeks have encountered people with partial knowledge. Apollos and the 12 Ephesian disciples. In both cases, they were missing significant, I would even say critical knowledge about Jesus, about His death and resurrection, and about what it means to depend on Him in life.
Yet they were still called believers, disciples, knowledgeable.
They had people lovingly correct them, Priscilla and Aquilla, and Paul. Things were corrected, and God was revealed to them, so much more graceful, so much more loving.
But it, and today’s readings. got me thinking about how easy it is to idolize knowledge, especially theological and spiritual knowledge.We expect that it will protect us against heresy and heterodoxy, that it will cause us to mature, to grow in our ability to enter into discussions and win them (the discussions/debates – not necessarily the people) for Christ. I’ve been there, done that,offended people, been condescending and arrogant, as I’ve strived to know it all. I’ve had to repent, and on more than one occasion apologize and confess and pray for forgiveness.
Yet scripture is clear, and we need to understand we can’t know it all. I can’t learn it all, nor keep tomes and tomes in my brain. I won’t be the next Augustine or Pascal or Melancthon.
To realize this, is a blessing that is incredible.
To realize that I won’t have every answer, that I will continue to grow, that my sight will always be indistinct, that my knowledge will always be partial is so freeing!
It frees me from an idol, one called knowledge. It stops me from becoming thinking that knowledge is the highest of virtues, and reminds me of something I need- to depend on Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith.
Coming face to face with my own inadequacies leads me to search out for Jesus Christ more than to search out for another theological guru, another academic tome. For His grace is communicated through His word and sacraments, through the Lord’s supper, and in the promises poured out with water in baptism, as the burdens of sin and unrighteousness are relieved as I hear the words,”Your sins are forgiven!”.(2)
It is Christ that protects us, it is the Holy Spirit that lifts us up, whether we can adequately diagram the text, or explain the communication of magisterial attributes. (these are actually helpful – but they ain’t God, nor do they automatically make us more godly!)
Knowing we don’t know it all, that we can’t, drives us to the cross, brings us to walk humbly next to Him, depending on His as a disciple, and this is good.
It is a great blessing – for as we lean on Him, as we trust our Lord, this is where we find peace, and the greatest knowledge of all.
That is this:
“The Lord is with you!”
(1) Escriva, Josemaria. The Way (Kindle Locations 488-490). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) I would recommend reading the Apology of the Augsburg Confession for a partial list of other sacraments, such as prayer, and helping the poor.