May 8, 2019·Dan Hicks
The longer I live, I’m discovering the less I know.
This is much easier to believe in my 68th year of life than it would have been when I was 28. So, I am not (or at least, I should not be) dismayed when I bump into people around me who place tremendous value on what and how much they know.
In 1 Corinthians 8:1-3, this subject of knowledge and Christ-followers is discussed. Then, underlying the discussion about knowledge is the greater question of Christian liberty, which is the subject being taught by Pastor Tim in the current series on freedom.
The context of these verses was whether it was right for a Christian to eat meat offered to an idol. If a non-Christian invited a Christian to a meal in his home and the meal contained meat offered to an idol, was the Christian committing idolatry by eating this meat? Some within the Corinthian community said it was a sin to eat it, and others said that it was not a sin.
Here is what stood out to me. We all have knowledge. Knowledge is important, but knowledge that stands alone is incomplete. This passage is speaking not only to a community 2000 years ago, it’s speaking to our community of faith today. As was true then, it’s true today, there are among us some believers who don’t have a complete knowledge of their liberty in Christ. They operate on taboos, rather than on grace, and prefer legalism to liberty.
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. Knowledge without love produces pride, because it gives a sense of superiority and it doesn’t build up.
In my 68th year, I think there would be some who might view me as a mature believer. If that’s true, then everything about me, beginning with my attitude, should be constructive with the weaker believers who probably place tremendous value on what and how much they know. My attitude of love takes into consideration the vulnerabilities of my fellow, and perhaps younger, believer’s faith. The principle of love transcends the law of liberty, especially when it comes to a weak or new Christ-follower.
No one gains complete mastery over what we know. I can know what I know truly, but, although it may be true, it is still incomplete because in my finiteness, I’m still seeing through a mirror dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12).
Yes, I recognize more and more how little I do know. And I’m discovering as well, the more I know, the humbler I become, because I know that I don’t know completely. And here is a strange twist, the less I know, the prouder I am of what I know. So, you might ask, “Then, Dan, what do you know?” I know this, I am known by God.
God recognizes those who love Him. I don’t want to be one of those who looks down my long nose at others. I refuse to become an “older” guy who is more interested in self-love than I am in other-love. I truly do care about building up others, and I hope these thoughts from our Pause Bible reading have done that for you.
Pastor Dan Hicks