NCW 25, November 1995
Q. The New Covenant has, if I may say so, a tremendous amount of what might be called "spiritual knowledge". Many people joining the Church have been taught these principles yet they seem to have made no progress spiritually. Why?
There are many listeners but few doers. Knowledge is not merely listening but putting godly principles into action. You can read the Bible ten times a year but learn nothing because you don't live its principles; or you can read it once every five years and live out its precepts and grow. True knowledge comes only by putting true principles into the motions of life.
But there is, I think, another valuable point that deserves mentioning. There are many conceited people in the world who think they know everything and go around behaving as though they do. They may indeed know an awful lot and may put much of it into practice, reaping the fruits of true principles lived out.
Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, said: "Shall I tell you what true knowledge is? When you know, to know that you know, and when you do not know, to know that you do not know -- that is true knowledge."
Many things I thought I knew turned out only to be faith. We must be careful when we use the word "know". Many people, for instance, habitually say: "I know I'm right" when what they really mean is: "I believe I am right." Unfortunately there are many misguided Christians who go around saying things like: "I know the Church I belong to is true" and really believe they "know". I once used to say such a thing but now I know I was wrong. Experience and (I hope) honesty showed me my error.
Some people are impressed by something because it sounds good. But they can never know it is true until they have tried living it.
Someone who is really knowledgeable in the spiritual sense will also know, and acknowledge, that he doesn't know. When I was spiritually very immature I thought I knew or understood 70% or so of life's mysteries. That number has steadily shrunk over the years. Though my knowledge has increased enormously, the overall picture of God's mighty and marvelous work has become more baffling. I have discovered that God's thoughts and ways are infinitely superior and different to my own.
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