So, with this week’s suggestion (see Monday’s post), here is what I am NOT suggesting.
I am NOT suggesting that “going deep” is bad.
God wants us to love Him with our minds. I agree with those who assert that this command includes being thinkers, even godly intellectuals. But loving Him with our minds also implies not just wanting to know more. The Garden of Eden teaches us many things, and one of them is that the Tree of More Knowledge is not a life-giving tree. The pursuit to know more than what God intended that we know got us into trouble already.
What might God intend that we know? This is not a question that will be answered in a short blog post. But I will assert that God never intended us to know all that He knows, including but not limited to the horrific potential of evil nor the lonely consequence of death. We got to know those by eating of the Tree of More Knowledge. I will also assert that God never intended us to know Him as a systematic concept. Theology is not a bad thing. We are all theologians with our presuppositions and notions about God. However, God did not reveal Himself to us conceptually. He revealed Himself to us relationally.
Therefore, when we “go deeper,” may we go deeper in our understanding how He relates with us and we relate with Him and we all relate with each other. May we go deeper in relating with Him as the Father who made and loves us, the Son who came and died for us, and the Spirit who promises and preserves the fullness of that intended deep relationship.
I am also NOT suggesting that curriculum or bible study is bad.
Certainly not. Learning about God is a good thing. But we should always pray for Him to move our learning about Him toward our learning and living with Him. The temptation that arises, and unfortunately the habit that churches fall into, is to make studying about God the pinnacle of our spiritual maturity. This is far from the case. Read Matthew 7 if you disagree.
The point is simple. Curriculum and bible study are means to an end, not the end. We make an idol of them when we pursue study about the Gospel personally more important than living the Gospel together. It is not an either-or. So let’s don’t make it an either-or to either extreme. Let’s learn while we live. Just like learning a language, we can’t become fluent in the ways of Jesus in a classroom or on an iPad app. It takes living in a culture where the language is spoken and tested and corrected and shown to be trustworthy.
Finally, I am NOT suggesting that knowledge is bad. I am just suggesting that wisdom is better.
We don’t often think of “wisdom” in this way, but what if wisdom is an understanding of how the Gospel and the commands and the love of Jesus becomes a living, breathing, transformational rhythm in my daily choices and my everyday relationships?
Wisdom is not having more knowledge. It is not being old and having experience. It is moving the word from hearing to doing.
May we model for as well as parent our kids toward learning AND living.
How I love Your instruction! It is my meditation all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are always with me. I have more insight than all my teachers because Your decrees are my meditation. I understand more than the elders because I obey Your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path to follow Your word. I have not turned from Your judgments, for You Yourself have instructed me. How sweet Your word is to my taste — ⌊sweeter⌋ than honey in my mouth. I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.
(Psalms 119:97-105 HCSB)
Little children, we must not love with word or speech, but with truth and action.
(1 John 3:18 HCSB)
But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
(James 1:22 HCSB)
FRIDAY _ a special treat – “The Three Roads” written by my son.