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Too much knowledge



The title of this blog post may seem odd coming from a blog called "Growing Together in Grace and Knowledge.  I hope to explain...

I absolutely love to research things that matter to me whether it be personal or in my walk as a believer.  It is incredibly easy and fast with the use of the internet!  There is so much information out there!  

A few months ago our Pastor shared some statistics to illustrate how much information we process between the TV, internet, social media and email.  In 2011, it is believed that the average person processed the equivalent of reading 174 newspapers a day!!  I am not a mathematician, but just four years later I'm sure that number has increased quite a bit!  This is astounding to me!  

As I mentioned earlier, I like to research things, and that can sometimes be a stumbling block for me.  If there is a situation effecting someone that I love, I will do as much research as possible (I do draw the line at looking up medical symptoms - lol.).  It somehow brings me comfort to know everything I can about a situation and is how I process.  But what I am really doing is trying to anticipate how God is going to work the situation out OR that I will somehow change the outcome by just "knowing".   I can't help but think I am being like Eve wanting to "gain wisdom" and "be like God". 

It boils down to my issues with control and not trusting God...  the root of most of my sinfulness... and most of my anxiety...  

I love to read my Bible and I have also ready many books on the Christian life, spiritual disciplines and biographies about the great saints from the past and the present.  I will dog-ear many pages and think, I will do what it says and "finally change" and "walk obediently".  And sometimes, I will for a while, but then I fall back into my old sinful ways...  The problem wasn't with the books, the problem was with me!   I was taking in all this knowledge, but was misguided in my processing and application.

As I study the book of Galations with my church, I am realizing more and more that I am unwittingly conducting myself in a works righteousness manner!   Every day I walk around feeling guilty that I have failed God - yet again...  Especially in the area of quiet time, prayer and Bible reading.  When I walk in a manner of defeat, then I  just spiral into all of my besetting sins.

I read a quote today from Dick Kaufmann that directly speaks to the pattern of my Christian life:  "Christians think that we are saved by the Gospel, but then we grow by applying biblical principles to every area of life.  But we are not just saved by the Gospel, we grow by applying the Gospel to every area of life."  

It was then that I realized the Apostle Paul could say the following to me!  "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?"  Galations 3:3

My motives were pure, but my methods were attempts in my own strength.

In Tim Keller's book, Galations for You, he states, "The way to progress as a Christian is continually to repent and uproot seeking control of our lives through systems of works-righteousness by the vivid depiction (and re-depiction) of Christ's saving work for us, and the abandoning of self-trusting efforts to complete ourselves. We must go back again and again to the Gospel of Christ crucified, so that our hearts are more deeply gripped by the reality of what He did and who we are in Him."  

I know, I know, this may seem like I've found another book with another "method".  But have I??

"For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified."  1 Corinthians 2:2

When I trusted in Christ as my personal Savior, I trusted in Christ's work on the cross to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  But I  have failed to remember hour by hour and day by day that "He has reconciled ME...  to present ME Holy in His sight, without blemish and free from accusation." Colossians 1:22.  Not only am I not remembering, but I am not applying Christ's saving work on the cross to every situation or every sin in my life.

My efforts to control were the means I was using to feel comfort.  To borrow a phrase from Tim Keller, it was a "functional savior".  But it wasn't "saving me" or bringing me comfort at all, but rather was leading me down a road of sin through bitterness, anger and anxiety.  

I hope to grow in my walk with the Lord through vividly meditating every morning and throughout every day upon Jesus' cleansing work for me on the cross.

When I have sinned or a sinful thought or action seems imminent or when a situation arises which makes me anxious, angry or feel "out of control", I must go back to the cross to see my Savior hanging on the tree and see myself as He sees me.  "Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow."  Isaiah 1:18

"Near the cross!  Oh Lamb of God,
bring its scenes before me;
help me walk from day to day
with its shadow o'er me."
Fanny Crosby, Jesus, Keep me Near the Cross

By constantly turning my thoughts to the cleansing blood of the cross, vividly picturing Him "looking down at me" and always remembering "As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed MY transgressions from ME."  Psalm 103:12, I will walk in obedience with my Lord and Savior.  Not in my own strength, but by the Grace of God.

"Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all."
Isaac Watts


"Growing in knowledge" of our Savior through His Word brings us into a closer communion with Him.  Reading extra-Biblical books and biographies can redirect us, mentor us, and hone our discernment skills.  All very good things.  

I, unfortunately, was using much of the knowledge I was gaining from extra-Biblical books as a "how to guide" of what "I could do" to live a life in obedience to God.

When I first titled the blog and pictured what "Growing in Grace" would look, I was thinking in terms of extending more and more grace to others.  But now I see, "Growing in Grace" is to hourly remember the finished work of the cross which declares me "not guilty" and to let God's grace shape my thoughts and actions.

The more I see myself as God sees me, Holy and blameless, my Christian walk will naturally become one of obedience by His grace.

You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eLivefree Thursday,Everyday JesusSDG GatheringInspire Me MondayTell His StoryTitus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays





Comments

  1. Christian growth only and ever happens by His grace, just as drawing near only and ever happens by His wooing. Work is certainly an integral part of a Christ-following life. I think of Paul's statement in I Corinthians 15:10: "I worked harder than any of them." But the context shows us that even our labor is by His grace. Oh, how we need the Gospel, and shall until the day we die! Thank you for linking this with us at Grace & Truth.

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    1. Indeed!

      I have been blessed by your visit to my blog. :-)

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  2. Performance is something we all tend to struggle with time and again, trying to earn what He has already given us. Yet He continues to offer grace and healing every time we come to Him! Thanks for sharing your story and reminding me.

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    1. Donna,

      His Grace is more than sufficient indeed! His patience and forgiveness are evident in how He picks us back up and redirects us saying, "This is the way, walk in it."

      Thanks for visiting!

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