Something’s happened to me. It didn’t happen overnight, though, so it wasn’t an immediate change. However, over the past couple of years, I’ve realized something that’s been happening over time: I don’t know as much as I thought I did. That might sound somewhat cliché, but allow me to explain.
I once thought I knew that the right evangelistic, conservative candidate could make a difference and solve the country’s problems. I once thought that I had a religious duty to vote for the right candidate. I don’t know any of that anymore. All I know now is that this world and all its systems, including the political system, have been crucified to me and I to them (Galatians 6:14). If God has no need of these systems today, why should I put my faith in them? All my ideas on politics and maybe even running for office – out the window!
I once thought I knew that one needed a proper college education to make it in the world today. I also once thought that the proper way to educate a child was through homeschooling, however I would still try to conform to the standardized education guidelines set up by the – whoops – world system. So, if the above is true (world crucified to me and I to it), then the same goes for education. While I still homeschool my children, I am no longer convinced that striving to make their way in the world is an enduring endeavor. I’d much rather them know Christ and His Church infinitely more than earning a Masters Degree. All my ideas on learning and education – out the window!
I once thought I knew that my kids needed to be trained up in the ways of the Lord, so they would never leave Him. I also thought I knew what that meant: Bible study, scripture memorization, church attendance, youth group attendance, church camp attendance, etc. I now understand that my kids are more God’s kids than they are mine. If He loves me and has a plan for me, then He does the same with them. I also understand that kids learn more by observation and experience than by obligation and lectures. All my ideas on how and what I’d teach my kids – out the window!
I once thought I knew how to make love to my wife, but my sex education was whacked. After a conversation with my wife, I realized that I didn’t know what I thought I knew. So, after 18 years of marriage the arrogant, 20-something boy is gone, the slightly less arrogant, 30-something man-boy is gone, and all that remains is the humble, yet willing to learn 40-something man. All my ideas on how to make love to my wife – out the window!
I once thought I knew all about Christ. I mean, He was my savior, and He’s supposed to be my Lord, what more is there, right? One day, I realized that I had only been playing in a small puddle on the beach of a vast ocean. I now know that there is SO MUCH MORE to this Christ than I could ever hope to know! Sure, He’s savior, redeemer, and Lord, but He’s also provider, provision, hope, joy, patience, love, goodness, strength, kindness, Life, water, bread, air, ground, foundation, building, etc. In short, He is all and in all (Colossians 3:11). All my ideas on who Christ is – out the window!
I once thought I knew all about Church, but like my sex education, my church education was whacked. I had been taught from the wrong tree. While I had gone from an understanding of church being a building, to church being a people, I still had very little real comprehension of it. I now know Church not as an it, but as a she: She is the Bride of Christ. I also know the Church as a he: He is the Body of Christ. And I’ve come to know that the Church is still an it: It is the Family of God. And, lo and behold, the Church is still a building, thought not how I once thought: It is the House of God, the City of God, and the Temple of the Holy Spirit. Essentially, I discovered one day that I wasn’t even at the beach of who the Church is; I was playing in some man-made pool. All my ideas on who the Church is – out the window!
On Church Work
I once thought I knew what it meant to do church work. But that was at the pool. Now, I’m at the ocean. There’s different work at the ocean. I once thought the only real work was to be a pastor. Now, I know that apostles, evangelists, prophets, teachers and pastors only equip or mend the church to do the work. The saints build the church. More accurately, Christ builds the church through the saints (Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 4:11-16). Even more recently, I thought church work still had to look a certain way, or that the results needed to be a certain result. Now, I just know that the only pattern for any kind of Church work is a person – Jesus Christ. And, being a person, He’s going to look different each time out. All my ideas on church work – out the window!
These are just a few of the areas where I now know nothing, or at least very little, of what I used to think I knew; there are plenty more areas. I used to have many, many sure thoughts. Now, I only have Christ. He is my sure thought. All my other sure thoughts – out the window!
So, the moral of the story? Don’t hold so tightly to what you think you know. Oh, and the older you get, you can either grow more stubborn or more pliable. In my short experience, I’ve found both to be assets. However, it’s up to you to figure out on what to be stubborn and on what to be pliable. And the easiest way to do that, I’ve found, is to ask somebody who knows: Jesus Christ.