We Can’t Know What We Won’t Know (7)
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2.12-16
In your right mind
Who wants to be a 98-pound weakling in the life of faith? A wimp, to be bullied by the world and cowed by taunting friends or co-workers? Who wants to be a do-nothing couch potato in the Name of the Lord? Would we not all rather be strong and do great things for the Lord and His Kingdom? The followers of Christ are commanded to be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might (Eph. 6.10). Further, Jesus promised that, if we truly believe and follow Him, we will do greater works than even He Himself did while amongst us on earth (Jn. 14.12).
Shouldn’t this be what we want, what we aspire to, what we strive every day to achieve? To be strong and do great works for the Lord?
But how can we get to the place where we are strong in God’s power and able to do mighty works? The Lord Himself told Daniel (Dan. 11.32): “the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits.” It is a mark of those who truly know the Lord, that they are strong in their faith – even in the face of mockers, deniers, opposers, and troublers of all sorts – and they do great works – like Jesus did, but even more.
Have you made up your mind to want to grow in the knowledge of Jesus? To increase in the knowledge of Jesus by every means, as fully and fruitfully as possible? You can’t know what you won’t know, and wanting to know is a decision you must make and renew daily.
We have the mind of Christ! Do you suppose the mind of Christ would be indifferent to or sluggardly about knowing more of God? If you are not willing to get on board with growing in the knowledge of the Lord, you are thinking with the wrong mind. Put another way, you’re not in your right mind. Your right mind is the mind of Christ – to know, love, and serve Him as fully as possible. Your wrong mind is unmoved by such a prospect, and simply wants a faith that is comfortable, untroubling, and demands as little as possible.
That’s not the road Jesus walked, and it’s not the road they walk who truly follow Him.
Know the givens
Paul says that God has freely given us things to know. Gifts of revelation and grace abound to us day by day, as the Lord calls out to us from His Word and from His world, so that we might see Jesus and increase in Him. But we must truly know the things freely given to us, and know them within the framework of Christ’s Kingdom agenda, and not merely as people in the world know them.
The Spirit can teach us all things, since we have the mind of Christ and are thus set and inclined to learn Him. But knowing with the mind of Christ, knowing the things freely given to us, knowing by the help of the indwelling Spirit of God, and knowing so that everything we know leads us to know, love, and serve Jesus more consistently and fruitfully – such knowing doesn’t just happen. Make up your mind that you are going to get on the path that leads to increased knowledge of God. Take your soul out of cruise control and step on the gas to make further, faster improvement in knowing Jesus.
God has freely given us the entire world: “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth He has given to the children of men” (Ps. 115.16). All plants and animals, all terrestrial features and ecosystems, every aspect of culture, all of life in society, things present and things past, things beautiful and things difficult to know (Eccl. 1.12, 13). With the mind of Christ, rooted in His Word, all this which God has freely given us can help us grow in the knowledge of Him Who saved us and keeps us for His eternal glory. As disciples – learners – of Jesus, we are privileged to learn as much as possible, so that we may take every thought captive, and put all things under our feet, so that everything God has freely given us leads us deeper into Jesus and the life of following Him (2 Cor. 10.3-5; Heb. 2.5-9).
As we come to know these things, we will grow strong in the Lord, and our love for Him will increase with great confidence and joy. And then, Paul says, we will talk to others about this world and everything in it, not in the ways “under the sun” people do, but in the exalted “under heaven” terms that help us bring the glory of God to light throughout creation, and to exalt Jesus, Who rules all things for His glory.
Have you made up your mind to take on this high and holy calling?
God expects us to judge everything He has freely given us, so that we might understand its true nature and purpose, and use it according to His good plan (1 Cor. 2.15). That Greek word, ἀνακρίνω (anakrino) means “to try to learn the nature or truth of something by the process of careful study, evaluation and judgment – to examine carefully, to investigate, to study thoroughly” (Louw and Nida). When we are truly living under the power and by the leading of the Spirit, we can make right judgments about everything, understanding how everything fits into the divine economy and contributes to bringing glory to God and Jesus Christ.
Christians are the people wearing 4-D glasses in a 4-D world, where everyone else is wearing only 3-D glasses, and thus is missing all the best parts of the show. We know this world is spiritual. We know all things come from and are sustained by God. We know that all things reveal the glory of God and have been freely given to those who know Him to aid them in being strong and doing great works for His glory. We know this.
Meanwhile, people in the world can only make out the barest outlines of things. Everything looks to them like trees, walking. They can’t see into the world deeply enough to get to the truth that is in Jesus. It falls to us to speak the things God has freely given to us in such a way as to communicate our hope, shine the light of truth, and bring the goodness of God to light in the land of the living. The more diligent we are in seeking to know the Lord – by all the means He has freely given to us – the more we will refract the reality of Jesus to the people around us, so that, when we talk about Him, and how we see and love and serve Him in all things, there will be no doubt in anyone’s mind about where we stand and what we seek.
They who know their God are strong and do exploits. And one of those great exploits must be increasing in knowing the things that have been freely given to us by God, so that we might rightly judge all things, and boldly speak about all things unto the praise and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But you can’t know what you won’t know. Won’t you decide, right now, that you will take up the adventure of getting to know Jesus better, through all the things and by every means God has freely given to us?
1. What does it mean to be strong and do great exploits in the Name of the Lord? Should this promise guide our everyday lives? Explain.
2. What would keep you from wanting to increase in the knowledge of Jesus Christ?
3. How can believers help one another to grow in the knowledge of the Lord?
Next Steps – Preparation: Make up your mind to learn more of the things freely given to us, so that you can judge how to use them for Christ and His Kingdom. What will this require of you? Whom can you enlist to support and assist you?
T. M. Moore
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This is part 1 in the series, “Know, Love, Serve”. All installments in this series may be downloaded for further study by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
To Judge All Things
- T.M. Moore
- November 25, 2019
God has freely given us all things. Whad'ya know?
We Can’t Know What We Won’t Know (7)
T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.