PSA: Thank you for your patience, my friends. I continue to take a much needed respite from the thrice weekly posts you have become accustomed to. The weekly Wednesday posts will continue for the time being while I refresh my mind with lots of reading and rest.
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’”
We are terrifically modern people. As average people, we are able to know more than at any other time in history. We have a world of knowledge available to us. We are able to endlessly study the Bible, read countless commentaries, even learn the original languages…
…and yet, despite all of the wonderful things we know, I wonder if any of us will be the ones saying “Lord, Lord.”
Why? Because we have the same problem that people did two millennia ago:
We’ve confused knowing God…with knowing God.
How Do You Know Her?
Just like there are different kinds of love, there are lots of different kinds of knowledge.
Let’s say I wrote a book about my wife, Cheri. Let’s say the book was very long and included innumerable facts about her. Many facts would be quite generic by nature (she is beautiful, she is kind-hearted.) Other facts would be much more specific to her (she’s a veterinarian, she enjoys decorating cakes.)
At the end of the book, after learning everything there is to know about her, would you know Cheri?
No, of course not. This is the mistake people make when they decide to stalk celebrities. Crazy people think that just because they pick up a People magazine that they “know” Jennifer Aniston. They don’t know her. They just know about her. Not to mention that Jennifer Aniston has never heard of them.
In our culture, we absolutely value the first kind of knowledge – knowing about things. We place a high priority on education. We emphasize Bible study. We want to break down the mysteries of God into systems that we can argue over.
And we are so quick to take up the mantle of “expert.” As bloggers, it’s terribly easy to pass ourselves off as “authorities” and “teachers” because we’ve read a few books. We love those virtual pats on the back when people tell us how smart we are. Don’t worry, it’s not just you. It’s me too.
So why do so many of us balk at guys like a Driscoll or a Piper or a Robertson?
There are probably lots of reasons, but I think a big one is that to many people, guys like them come off as know-it-alls. There are no questions they cannot answer, no eternal mystery they cannot answer with authority, no gut-wrenching tragedies they cannot explain. They know exactly how God works, exactly what everyone should do, and and exactly where Anne Frank went when she died.
I can’t judge any of their hearts, but frankly, acting like an authority on everything is downright annoying. It wouldn’t hurt anyone’s PR to say “I don’t know” once in a while.
Lord, Lord, Did We Not Write Blogs In Your Name?
The problem is that there is a huge gulf between the knowledge we can show off about God, and how much we actually, internally know God. There is a difference between winning a trivia contest, getting a degree, writing a blog, being a teacher, being a know-it-all, being a stalker – and knowing God, being God’s friend.
True, we need some knowledge. But there have surely been many people who were far less educated than you or I, and yet knew God much more intimately than I ever have. Why can an atheist read the Bible cover to cover, get all the facts, and still not know God? What did Abraham know about God? Not much at all. Yet, it seems that Abraham knew God enough to trust, to obey, to be considered God’s friend.
The words that Jesus uses that cut right through my heart are, “I never knew you.” When we pray, how often do we ask God for answers? We want the why and the how and the when. How often do we tell God we want to know answers, instead of asking to just know Him more deeply?
What do you think? Does more knowledge actually equal a deeper relationship with God? Or have we substituted facts for love?