Information today is rampant, isn’t it? I remember when we first started to teach children about finding facts and knowledge using the internet. I was thrilled to find original documents and wonderful visuals for the children I was teaching What a great way to learn about science, history, and people! But…oh, holy cow! What about seeking the truth?But along with leading my students to information online, came the HUGE responsibility of teaching them to be critical thinkers, to check out their sources, and to verify the integrity of the information they found. I can’t imagine what the next ten, twenty years will be like for today’s children. Where will they turn to trust the information they are receiving?
I think it is the same for those of us who are searching for the Truth about God. It’s starts when we seek answers for who we are as an individuals, who we are in relationship to those close to us and not so close to us. And we begin to ask about the God who made us all. Does He care about me? Does He even know me? Then other questions pile one on top of the other: How do I treat others?—my spouse, my kids, my friends, my neighbors, my colleagues? Or the stranger I have just met? Am I here for a purpose? If so, what in the world is that purpose? Today when people start searching they will find way too much chatter out there—and so many differing points of view. God’s Truth? or Man’s Opinions? Yikes!!!
I am assuming that many of you who are reading this blog do believe in God, the Creator, and His Son. But, there are those of you who might be unsure of faith or are choosing to not accept it. For each of us—those who have said, “I believe”, or for those who are saying, “I don’t know”, we ALL experience a hunger to know. We all have questions, we all wonder how Truth fits into our lives. Most of us doubt what we first heard as children, and we begin to seek our own truth.
“Our culture is bent on the idea of questioning everything, including whatever it is you’re currently trusting in. The process of examining your beliefs can be very unsettling. On the other hand, it can force you to refine your assumptions and beliefs in order to make sure you know where they are pointed and why…I needed—and maybe you need—to find out whether there is a real basis for believing any of these things (the Bible)...I needed to know the reason why.” (Mark Mittleberg, author)
So what do we do when we doubt, or when what we’ve seen or heard just brings on more questions rather than answers that satisfy? There is a usual pathway that begins with the information we seek:
Information is the birthplace of knowledge.
Yet, knowledge is not necessarily the birthplace of wisdom.
Wisdom comes as we begin to use our knowledge.
The book of James (Jesus’ brother) says some powerful things about wisdom, but this passage seems to capture the desire God has for all of us regarding wisdom: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5).
Wisdom grows as we become aware of how our understanding, our knowledge impacts our lives. Wisdome affects the decisions we make. Spiritual wisdom blossoms as we act on our faith. (more on that idea in the next post!) It’s really the difference between “head knowledge” and “heart knowledge”.
“God has given us a mental faculty, a rational ability to think, to explore, to search out, to investigate, to study and correlate, and relate one aspect of life to another. The whole functioning of the mind is designed to produce truth…I don’t know of anything more desperately necessary for Christians today than that we personally expose our minds and our thoughts to the revelation of God’s truth…Becoming a believer doesn’t mean that you have to hang your intellect up in the closet. It challenges you to search out the truth about life in a deeper way than every before.” Dr. Ray Stedman, “The Pattern of Man“)
Confession: Being “school smart” has always been a roadblock for me. It has taken me decades to realize that just because my mother and my teachers told me I was smart didn’t qualify me for wisdom in any category of life; particularly the spiritual one. Growing up in the late 60’s made me defiant against established authority which included anything ‘religious’. My, my have I had a turn-around. Thank You God!!!
Go find out for yourself. If you are confused, start your own investigation. I did. Some of the most renown Christian authors struggled with a lot of disbelief, frustration, and doubt: Martin Luther, John Wesley, C.S. Lewis, John Newton; and today’s contemporaries Francis Collins, Joel Rosenberg, Alister McGrath, Chuck Colson, and Lee Strobel.
If you doubt, if you wonder, find out for yourself.
Go and read what God says.
Loving God and accepting His words starts with a search for what is true. Ask God to meet you, ask Him to show you if what He says is really, really true. He will. He will make many things very, very clear to you. A gentle warning: Stay open-minded to the possibility that what you are reading is The Truth.
The Benefits of Wisdom