You’re going to think I’m silly, but…
I want to know everything, about everything.
A Distorted Desire
Sometimes my thirst for knowledge is a blessing – it means I read a lot, and learn things that help me, and that I can pass on to others. It’s good to use and stretch the mind that God has given me.
But sometimes it’s a desire that paralyses me, because I’m constantly confronted with how little I know about anything! I don’t know where to start with learning more, and I don’t know when to stop and call it a day!
As I begin an MA in Applied Theology, I feel this pressure again. I just can’t read or learn enough to reach my nebulous standards! I’m humbled and a bit frightened by how little I know, and a voice in my mind whispers “And you call yourself a church worker?” “everyone else knows more than you”
Knowledge and understanding are good things of course. I am so thankful for this opportunity to study again! And my hope is that God will use what I learn to bless my church family too. But I was created a finite being, by an infinitely knowledgeable God. My ability to gain knowledge is limited and so is my understanding.
In fact, it was the sinful desire to know everything, to “be like God”, that was behind the fateful decision of Adam and Eve in the garden. If I search out the reasons behind my own desire to ‘know it all’, they’re ugly. I want control, self reliance, and superiority. I think that knowledge will remove my need for other people, and for faith in God.
What does the Bible say, that will help me to resist this nonsensical drive to know everything all the time? How can I restore a good desire for learning that’s been twisted out of proportion?
1) I can rest in the knowledge that my heavenly Father knows all things: Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit. Psalm 147:5
Being God is his job! “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand…6 On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone—7 while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:4, 6-7
2) There is plenty of wisdom literature in the Bible that praises knowledge and understanding, (and defines it biblically for us) and here is step 1 for those who pursue it: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight. Proverbs 9:10
3) God calls us to come to him for true wisdom and knowledge that will satisfy: For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6
For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
And perhaps most importantly:
4) Over and above the pursuit of knowledge must be our pursuit of God himself.
When my knowledge, experience, and understanding are shown up as inadequate, I can turn to my infinite God for help. Dependence on him is a blessing and protection. To know him is what I truly need.
My prayer amidst the research papers and deadlines, is that my primary focus as I engage in study and increase my theological knowledge, will be to know God more fully and deeply, and to praise him for his infinite wisdom and glory!
Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Psalm 119:66