Knowledge and Understanding

The original question for consideration was how can I clear my mind and begin to put down roots and grow again in Christ; when my life is collapsing around me and recovery looks nearly impossible?  The answer can be found in God’s word, illuminated and made effective by the indwelling Holy Spirit and although there are a number of places we could look for answers in the bible, the prophet Isaiah summarizes it well for us in chapter eleven of his prophesy.  Isaiah points out that what we desire most is rest and the ability to have peace in spite of our circumstances, not that they will suddenly disappear or to imply that by seeking God’s rest we are running away and hiding.  What we really need at such times is the Spirit to come and rest on us, giving us whatever we need to keep on, keeping on.  The first of these on Isaiah’s list is wisdom or in other words, the ability to clear our minds of all the negative and destructive thoughts and once again be able to see ourselves clearly; with a Godly perspective and without the distortion of “worldly wisdom.”  Worldly wisdom is the wisdom of Satan and will only lead us to even greater desperation, unhealthy fear and uncertainty.

Two of Isaiah’s points of rest are closely linked with wisdom but are often mistakenly thought of as being wisdom, namely understanding and knowledge.  Wisdom certainly contains knowledge and understanding but it should be noted that all three are essential elements in getting right with God and enjoying Him fully. A simple example of why we should separate the three can be illustrated by my lack of knowledge and understanding of physics.  Einstein’s theory of relativity is E=MC2, a formula that I have knowledge of and even know what the letters and numbers represent, but I have little or no understanding of what they mean and their import when combined in this famous mathematical formula.

Jesus told His disciples repeatedly that He had to leave this world and go to be with His Father and that is it was good that he was going because the Holy Spirit was coming, to dwell be with them and be their Counselor and Advocate in this world and before the Father.  But as many times as Jesus explained it to them, it wasn’t until the Spirit finally came, did they fully understand what they knew to be true.

A number of years ago I knew a man who had a good and Godly perspective on his life but had a sin problem that was destined to do nothing but tear him down more and more, along with those closest to him.  He knew that if he continued on the path he was taking that it would only make him more miserable and desperate.  So why didn’t he just say enough is enough, turn to the Spirit for complete understanding of his circumstances and ask for the help that he knew came only from God, by His Spirit?  It was because of fear of failure. He knew that his only real hope was in Christ, through the power of the Spirit, but what if his faith wasn’t adequate to the task?  If he failed, then all would be lost for sure and besides he had been able to hide the problem (sin) effectively for years.  It might be safer for all involved to keep on living a lie.  I know this story well because the man in this story was me.

So how did I come to grips with my sin and conquer my fear of failure?  I would like to say it was because I suddenly realized what a fool I was being, but that wouldn’t be the truth.  I finally became so desperate, physically and mentally tired from lying, I confessed it to my wife and children and turned once more to the Father in prayer and admitted that I was powerless in my circumstances. I told Him that finally I was turning it all over to Him for the strength and courage I so desperately needed.  I told the Lord that whatever course he wanted me to follow; I would follow, without complaint or excuse. I remember reading repeatedly the words of Jesus had spoken to Paul when he was being tormented by Satan, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness (2Corinthians 12:9).”  Paul’s’ conclusion was, “For when I am weak, then I am strong (v. 10).”  The path wasn’t completely clear to me at first and I made some mistakes along the way but I never gave in or gave up and before long my weakness led to complete confidence, replacing the fear that had immobilized me for so long. I could finally enjoy the rest and peace that the Lord had promised me all along because I opened myself up to his leading and became completely dependent on the Spirit’s wisdom, knowledge and understanding.

Tool #358  You may fail, but God will never fail you.  Just get up and follow Him, allow Him to be your Counselor and Advocate.


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