11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Hopefully, today’s devotional will truly challenge you. These words are not any easier to right then I know they will be to read. But my intent is honorable and Godly, and hopefully will be received in the manner in which they are intended to be given: the truth in love, just as Paul has instructed me, and all Christians to do.
We are given a divine guide in the New Testament. It is a guide to Christ. It is a guide to salvation, and a guide full of examples from Christ Himself on not only how to become a Christian, but perhaps even more importantly, a guide on how to live as a Christian.
With the preponderance of the doctrine of most of the fastest growing churches and church ‘movements’ in America today, the theology that is being emphasized is one of FREEDOM. Freedom to live and act and do most anything you like, as long as in your heart you ‘feel’ as though you are going this “for Jesus”, or “in the name of Jesus”. This freedom includes all sorts of ‘evangel’ events and activities that look and feel just like the world because their might be a chance that they can reach someone for Jesus while they are there blending in with the crowd.
This emphasis on freedom preached by many tells us that you are ‘chosen’, ‘predestined’ to go to heaven. Like it or not, act like it or not, you are going to heaven. (Others, well, too bad for them, they are not so lucky.) Even though the majority of those preaching the message will deny that their intent is to let their flocks understand that they can do anything they want in life, including a continual sinful lifestyle, and still get to heaven. But their message ends up being one of confusion. More importantly, they forget that they are preaching to SINNERS, sinners with hearts that will deceive them. Sinners will take whatever advantage they can to promote their flesh, especially when they are told they can do all these things ‘for Jesus’ and all will be well. However, our biblical instructions bear out just the opposite.
We are instead told that we must be continually growing in our spirit. We are to desire the truth, the milk of the word, and graduate into meat-eating carnivorous Christians, desiring to devour all of God’s Word, chewing on it, meditating on it ferociously. Well I’m sorry to say most Christians do not ever really graduate to this level. Most will remain emaciated milk-drinkers starving for a real diet of Christian healthy and enriching teaching. Others will become spiritual bulimics, binging and purging their way through a stagnated Christian life of consuming whatever sounds good, and purging it the moment it is not longer fits their lifestyle, or makes them feel uncomfortable. Heaven help us that we might actually have to change…
Another group might become spiritual gluttons. They take in all they can get, eat and eat and eat becoming fat on the word, only to find out that without a nutritious diet of spiritual foods that have a nourishing effect, that their theological diet, while fattening them, has no value and is in fact killing them.
Herein lays the crux of the issue. You can have uber knowledge of things theological. You might be the brightest, most intelligent man on the planet. You may have ever every theological work that has ever been written, and be able to recite the scriptures from Genesis 1:1 to the Revelation ‘Amen’ word for word. You might have as Paul said in I Corinthians 13:2 “all knowledge”, but if you do not translate that knowledge to wisdom, you are just as equally doomed as the man down the street that cannot read a lick.
If we put our emphasis on knowledge instead of wisdom, this is where we will end up. We’d be theological fat-cats, Pharisaical Christians that recite doctrine, and do nothing in their lives to live it out. We’d be the walking dead. Still.
Knowledge is having the information you need to make right choices. Wisdom is applying that knowledge properly. Knowledge without wisdom is useless. None of us are better off with knowledge if we cannot convert by practical application, that knowledge into wisdom in our lives. In the same way that simply having knowledge does not make one wise, knowing about God and the gospel does not make one a Christian.
Applying wisdom into the practical expression of your life allows those around you to see that you have knowledge. You don’t have to tell them, they just know. Applying what you know about Jesus and the gospel to your everyday life with wisdom allows people to see that you have not only knowledge of God, but that you believe what you have read, that you love God, that you are a rock-solid Christian! You won’t have to tell them, they’ll just know it!
We must have constant growth. The fact that you have been learning the bible, learning about God and His word means nothing if that knowledge does not produce growth in your spiritual life. We must constantly be growing. In the words of fellow Calvary Pastor Damian Kyle, you need to constantly be “closing the gap” between your sinful life, and the perfection of Christ. If you are reading the Word, if you are going to church, if you are attending bible studies if you are reading quality Christian books and you are not growing, then there is a disconnect somewhere between your knowledge and your wisdom. There is a disconnect between your Spirit and your flesh, and your flesh is winning out.
Think back to when you first became a believer. Look how much your life has changed since then. At least I hope it has. But then look back just one or two years. Do you still see dramatic growth? Do you see a mind and thought process becoming more and more Christ-like? Do you see things in a light now, looking through a more Godly shaded set of lenses, than you did a year or two ago? If you don’t – check yourself. There should always be growth, unless you have achieved perfection that is.
In that is my summation. Unless you are perfect, there is always room for growth. Failure to cause growth to happen is failure to see that it is necessary, which is in itself a sign of pride and selfishness. Neither of which are compatible with Christianity.
So there you have it. Knowledge does not equal wisdom. Learning does not equal growth. Failure to grow equals pride which is sin. You do the math from there.