Sometimes we seem to lose perspective. This is when we need knowledge. Yet, handling knowledge is challenging.
Knowledge is insight. If I enter a dark room I will not be able to see or recognize anything. But as soon as the light is turned on I get insight into the reality of the room and can see and know what is before me and where I can move to. We receive knowledge when God brings light into our dark situations. Therefore, knowledge has to do with insight, understanding and sound judgment.
Proverbs 2:6: „For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding”.
A while ago I talked to a young lady. She felt as if she had lost perspective. During the night she had a remarkably high number of dreams and assumed God wanted to speak to her. But what did these dreams mean? She would have preferred to hear my interpretations. Nevertheless, it is much better to ask the Lord for knowledge and insight which he loves to give. I have experienced frequently that God spoke through dreams or supernatural inspiration and subsequently also provided knowledge and insight to understand correctly what he had said. So I suggested that the young lady should ask God for knowledge and insight – and also for patience. If there is no knowledge initially, we may exercise patience. Not everything is obvious to us immediately. “Though we live forwards, we often understand life backwards” (Sören Kierkegaard).
Handling knowledge can be very challenging. There are two dangers to which especially spiritual leaders are susceptible. The first danger is that knowledge is lost. In Hosea 4:6 God speaks to the priests saying: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for me”. These are hard words. In ancient Israel the priests were among the spiritual leaders and were co-responsible for the spiritual well-being of the people. Yet, as soon as they disregarded God and his word they lost the knowledge and insight needed for their ministry. Jesus once said the following about the scribes and Pharisees who intended to adhere more to their own insights than to knowledge from God: “They are blind leaders of the blind” (Matthew 15:14). We need proper perspective and should desire knowledge and insight from God.
The second danger is the very opposite: Thinking to have gained exceptionally much knowledge, since knowledge can puff up (1 Corinthians 8:1). When the first Christian churches were formed there were many false teachers spreading very peculiar insights. Many of these odd teachings were summarized under the Greek general term gnosis (“knowledge”). Paul warned of these so called Gnostics who caused confusion with their secret special insights: “Avoid the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge” (1 Timothy 6:20). Again, these are hard words, but they protect us from trying to promote special insights and knowledge and from becoming presumptuous.
Focused on Christ
Knowledge in itself is not dangerous, but that what can be made out of it is. Even the best food can cause suffering. Therefore, Christ must be our focus. In Colossians 2:3 it says that in him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge”. We find real knowledge when we seek Christ and have fellowship with him. He will also teach us how to handle it adequately.