How do we not act like fools as Christians?
Have you ever observed the lives of other Christians, what they stand for, what they believe in, how they conduct themselves and go “Man, that doesn’t represent Jesus at all?” I for sure have. Sure, part of that is pride judgment. But part of it also is a muscle of discernment, a part of us that goes, “Something’s not right.”
This, I imagine is the scenario that Paul was in when he was observing the lives of his Jewish brethren. He saw that they had missed the message of the Messiah Jesus. And in Romans, he laments how they, even though they have a great passion for God, are missing a huge piece of what it means to be faithful to Yahweh. He writes:
For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge.
He says that they have a passion for God but it isn’t rooted in knowledge. Isn’t that the problem with our faith sometimes? We can have passion, zeal, enthusiasm but it is rooted in the wrong place?
However, as much as I’d like to point out the speck in other Christians’ eyes, I recognize that that plank is coming out of my own. There are many times that I am sure of, that I act blindly as well. That I have a piece of the truth but am missing the whole truth. And even despite being zealous, I can do damage to myself, to others, and to the name of Jesus.
How do we see as Christians?
When I was reflecting on this passage, God spoke a revelation about this passage to illuminate what it means to be a Christian that has “knowledge”. To have my faith be congruent with my passion and zeal, my “knowledge” has to comprise of all of these elements:
- Knowledge of God’s word
- Knowledge of Our World
- Knowledge of our own hearts.
Most likely, if we ourselves are acting blindly, we are most likely missing one of these three things. This is my understanding of what these are:
Blindness One – Knowledge of God’s Word
The first is having knowledge of God’s word. We are surrounded by so much information. Yet as Christians we are called to live faithfully to the parsing of God’s word correctly.
Many times, we make errors because we 1) don’t know enough of God’s word or 2) reading it incorrectly or 3) just blatantly ignoring what it says.
I see this most common in many of our stances about morality in the world. Where it is easier and more convenient to take a stance that is popular with the world rather than what the Bible says.
Blindness Two – Knowledge of Our World
Someone once said that our lives as believers is to hold the newspaper in one hand and a Bible in the other. It is to be cognizant of the world we are ministering to.
I struggle with this as well, but many times I understand and view the world with a discompassionate and myopic lens. I don’t fully understand the mechanics of what’s going on in the world. As a result, my ministry to it seems tone-deaf, reductionistic, and discompassionate.
If I want to be a credible witness to the world, it does take a bit of cultural parsing.
Blindness Three – Knowledge of Our Hearts
This is the most critical, most neglected one, and the one that is hardest to see.
We are not robots holding the knowledge of the Bible and the knowledge of the world blankly. Rather, we are human beings with the flaws of our own hearts. And more often than not, our ills in acting out are not for lack of knowledge of the world or the Bible. Rather, we most often act out of something wrong within us.
We often speak, not because we know the truth, but because we want to be heard.
We condemn, not because we are morally right, but because we want to feel significant ourselves.
We yell, rebel, and scream, not because we are fighting the right battles, but because we feel unseen and unloved.
These are all issues of the heart. The heart is a mixed bag of motivation. In order to see clearly, I need to understand fully the makings of what drives my heart.
How About You?
I want to act faithfully as a Christian. I want to see clearly and not just have “zeal” but lack knowledge. And if I am, chances are, I’m missing one of these three things.
Which of these three do you struggle with? Which do you see missing in our world today?
Let me know in the comments below!