Thursday, February 17, 2011
The important role of knowledge in sanctification
Somewhere along the way the church abandoned knowledge. Maybe it was after Darwin's theory of natural selection gained such popularity that the church began to see science as its enemy and knowledge by extension. Just walk the aisles of any Christian bookstore and read the titles. Books that feed our emotions sell a lot better than books that feed our minds.
Spirituality is considered by many to be dependent upon our subjective determination of how close we feel to Christ. (This obsession with feelings has also plagued other of our relationships with marriage topping the list.) Does our relationship with Christ have anything to do with feelings, His or ours? Is our holiness based on how close we feel to the Lord? Even our worship, which is supposed to be about pleasing God, is usually evaluated by how it makes us feel.
I've been memorizing Colossians this year, just two verses per week, and have been meditating on Paul's prayer for the church in Colosse. Here's what Paul says about sanctification and notice there's no mention of feelings anywhere.
"For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God..." Colossians 1:9-10 (emphasis mine)
According to Paul, our sanctification begins and ends with knowledge. It starts with the knowledge of God's will. So many believers want to know God's will for their lives, but they aren't willing to search for it in His Word. The knowledge of God's will is revealed in His Word. How can we be obedient to that of which we are ignorant? So, our spiritual growth must begin with knowledge of God's will.
This knowledge is not knowledge for knowledge sake though. It has a purpose- "... that you may walk worthy of the Lord." Have you heard it said that right thinking leads to right living? Right thinking could certainly end there in cold indifference, but right living must begin with right thinking. Obedience begins in the mind! Then get this, our fruitful good works that were made possible by learning God's will, cause a further increase in the knowledge of God! (v. 10)
Each round of sanctification begins and ends with knowledge of God. It's as if an onion is being peeled back, layer by layer, knowledge by knowledge, with spiritual growth ("being fruitful") sandwiched in between.
God made our emotions and when bridled they can be used for God's glory, but it doesn't appear that they play much of a role in spirituality at all.
What a great prayer- that we would be filled with the knowledge of God's will, that we would walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God! I'm loving Colossians!
- I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.