If we live our lives by what we understand then we will never understand all that God wants to do in us, to us and through us. The essence of faith means that we are totally dependent on God to come through for us.
Our minds are very limited and not very good teachers. God’s Spirit on the other hand is unlimited and is an excellent teacher.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart” [Proverbs 3:5] is a command, not a suggestion. We are to trust with our heart, not our head. Wait a minute, I thought our heart was so evil we could never trust it? This is a New Testament reality being commanded in the Old Testament.
Paul said this in Romans 10:9, “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” We cannot be saved if we do not believe [trust] in our heart. God works on and in the heart long before He works on our head. In fact, God does not work on our head. He tells us to be transformed by renewing our mind.
“Lean not on your own understanding” is also a command, not a suggestion. To lean, depend, rely on and be totally supported by something that is extremely limited instead of something that is totally unlimited and unrestricted is dumb at best. Scripture tells us the natural mind cannot receive anything from the Spirit of God.
It is as if our natural mind and God’s Spirit are on two different frequencies. If you are trying to find your favorite FM radio station you have to be on the FM dial. And when you find the FM dial you have to dial in the correct station in order to receive the program you are desiring.
God is so beyond our abilities. He is way past our imagination and prayer life. The Living Bible Paraphrase tells us this, “Now glory be to God who by His mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask [our prayer life] or even dream of [imagination] ~ infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes.”
God, in His infinite love and wisdom stands down the road from where we are living and where we are believing and says this [my opinion], “Hey [your name or my name], I know you are trying very hard and I am proud of you. I know that you cannot see Me but I can see you. Come on down [play on words from a famous TV show]!” Or, “come up higher because I have so much more to show you and to give to you.”
When we lock ourselves in to the limitations of our understanding we are eliminating the vast resources of the greatest database [the mind of God] and search engine [the Holy Spirit that searches the mind of God] that exists [1 Corinthians 2:9-11].
It does not matter how intelligent we are, or think we are. We are never smarter than God. When we lean on our own understanding we are communicating at some level to God that we are just fine without Him. Not a good plan!
Paul the apostle said this in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 ~
|“. . . we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies. (1 Corinthians 8:1)If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know; (1 Corinthians 8:2)but if anyone loves God, he is known by Him. (1 Corinthians 8:3)|
“We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge makes arrogant [puffs up]!” Both of the words for knowledge in verse one speak of naturally obtained knowledge through study, or observation. This is head knowledge.
The word for arrogant literally means to make natural. It also means to inflate, blow up, to cause to swell up. I like the initial definition. To make natural is the antithesis of to make spiritual. Christians are not human beings that have spiritual encounters. We are spiritual beings that live in a natural world. To make natural is to reduce ourselves to an inferior reality.
Paul said this in 2 Corinthians 4:18 ~
“while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
It has always interested me how the Holy Spirit through Paul issued this warning. He seems to be saying watch what you depend on, or maybe watch out who you depend on.
The end of verse one of chapter eight says, “but love edifies.” Love is king, not natural knowledge. The word edifies means to build a house, to erect a building from the foundation up. Love digs deep and establishes a solid foundation on which we can build something substantial on top of it.
Then in the next two verses he uses another Greek word for knowledge which means to know by experience. Another way to look at this word is “intimacy”. It is used as a Hebrew idiom for sex.
The words for love in verse one and verse three come from a root word that means “to kiss”. Knowledge that comes from intimate encounters with God [at the spirit level] is transformational where knowledge that is intellectually obtained [soul level] can cause us to be over inflated.
How are we obtaining our knowledge? What is the outcome of the knowledge we are obtaining? Is our knowledge making us more natural or spiritual? Is our knowledge making us more like Jesus?
For HIS Glory!
Dr. Kevin M. Drury