I CORINTHIANS 8:1-3: “Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: “I know that already!” How many times did I say that to my parents when I was a teenager. It seems that we become experts on “all things” by the time we are 18. It is easy to think we know it all when our frame of reference is limited. However, when we are placed in a world that is so much bigger than our room – all of a sudden we realize that we really don’t know that much at all!
I think the same thing happens to us as believers. We begin our new walk of faith with openness and wonderment. Then somewhere along the way we begin to think – “I already know that!” What happens to us? I think we begin once again to limit our frame of reference. It is easy to build a safe and contained life of faith within four walls of a church and a small circle of Christian friends. We isolate ourselves from a world that is both demanding and falling ever faster into darkness. We justify this action saying we are simply trying to remain pure from the sin of the world – and all the while we grow more and more inward. Our knowledge begins to become our pride – and we lose our effectiveness.
Jesus never did this. Jesus went into the darkness. He never participated in other people’s sin, and He never went forth condemning and judging. He came as both perfect light and perfect love. He ate at the table of tax collectors and sinners. He let His light shine in the darkness. When people asked Him questions He would always speak the truth, He would always call them to repentance and discipleship. Some would follow – most would turn away from the call to the Cross. Yet, Jesus kept going to the lost, the broken, the sick of body and spirit. He never hid out in the Temple.
When Jesus ascended into heaven He left His Church with the same charge. He poured out His Spirit upon us so that we could carry on His ministry, His witness. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 ESV) Jesus did not impart ‘knowledge” – He imparted a Person, the person of the Holy Spirit. It was His intimate and indwelling presence and relationship that would allow us to continue Jesus’ ministry. It was the power of the Holy Spirit that would allow us to go into the darkness to proclaim His love and light. This was to be our call and our distinctive!
The question I must ask myself is – “How is that going for me?” Am I drifting further and further from His calling because I think I know too much? Or – am I reaching out to the lost, the broken, the sick of body and spirit. Jesus said He was called to reach sinners. We are all sinners who need a Savior. When we meet the Savior we are called to reach others with the same love, the same grace, the same invitation that has been extended to us! We all want to be known of God – but the key to being known of God is to love! We love, because He first loved us. We are called to love. What am I waiting for?
Lord, forgive me for the tendency to be puffed up with “knowledge”. Forgive me for hiding out where it is safe. Forgive me for creating sanitized enclaves with other Christians where I point the finger and act like a Pharisee saying – “I am glad I am not like them.” Help me to remember that I am just like them, that without Jesus Christ I too am lost and destined to hell, and that it is only Your Grace that has saved me. Help me to extend Your Great Grace and Love to all!
“And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 ESV)
In Jesus Name!