Knowledge is learning, but wisdom is using it


The other night, I was out late and hadn’t eaten dinner. So I swung by McDonald’s for a chicken sandwich, and I got a kick out of the Schwann’s truck in the parking lot. Ironic. A Schwann’s truck full of food, and the driver is stopping to eat a Big Mac or something. But of course the poor guy had to stop. It’s not like he could eat any of the food in his truck. It’s all frozen.

Sometimes my life is like that. I’ve got a great big brain full of lots of information and random bits of nonsense, but I can’t use it for anything. I mean, some of what I know is useful. Some of what I know can be used to help others, and I do my best to live that way. But do we ever stop to think about education and learning from that perspective? It’s not bad to learn. It’s not bad to be educated. But I do believe there’s a place in life where you can be too educated.

S059QDGBOG (1)Today’s verses are James 1:22-25.

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

Knowledge and Wisdom are two important parts of following Jesus, and both of them are gifts. But knowledge, in my mind, is theoretical. Knowledge is knowing every Bible verse, being able to quote Scripture cover to cover, knowing every reference. And that’s not bad. Good grief, if you have that knowledge, that’s amazing.

But there’s a massive difference between having knowledge and acting on it.

You can know that a piece of cheese is rotten before you eat it, but just knowing it’s rotten won’t make any difference in your life unless you make a choice whether or not to eat it. Maybe that’s a bad example, but think about the Scwann’s man. The dude (or dudette) had a whole truck full of tasty entrees and desserts, just ready to be eaten, but they would just continue to sit in the back of the truck because he didn’t what he needed to actually use them. Schwann’s food has to be thawed or baked before you can eat it (unless you got fudge bars). But you get the point.

So many Christians are just walking encyclopedias. We’re full of information. We’re full of the Bible. We’re full of Church language. But all we do is carry it around, and it’s not changing our lives or the lives of people around us because we don’t use it. We have to stop at the McDonald’s for a meal because what we’re carrying around with us isn’t nourishing.

You can read, learn, understand, and accept every verse in the entire Bible, but until you DO it, it means nothing. There’s a big step between mentally accepting that the Bible is true and believing it strongly enough that you change the way you live because of it. You can say you believe the Bible, but that won’t do anything. That won’t make any chance in your life or in the lives of people around you.

But if you pay attention, if you do what the Bible says, if you listen to what you’ve heard and obey, your life will turn inside out. God will show up in ways you can’t ignore. And you’ll be so full of blessings you can’t contain them. But that first step is yours to take.

So learn, yes. Learn all you can. But don’t learn just because you’re afraid of what comes after learning. That’s the point of going to school, to move on to the next step. Don’t let fear hold you back. Learn all you can, and move on. Learn all you can, and let God use what you’ve learned to do what He wants you to do.

Getting knowledge is a great idea, but turning your knowledge into something that gives God glory? That’s wisdom. And you really ought to go after both of them.


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