Kids are funny. When Josh (little Josh, that is) asks me a question about something and I tell him the answer, it’s interesting to watch his reaction. Sometimes what he’ll do is immediately run to his sister and repeat word for word what I’ve just told him, as if now he is an expert on the subject and is determined to teach her the same thing. He may not know anything about what he’s saying, not really at least, but he has an answer from me so he is now his sister’s teacher.
This is cute when you see it in your children, but not so cute with those people who think that just because they have a certain kind of understanding of spiritual things, or biblical truth, that now they are qualified to be teachers of others. Don’t you find it is so easy to get that way? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done it myself. I’ll get an intellectual grasp on some truth from the scriptures, and before you know it I’m an expert on the subject, ready to sit behind a pulpit (or keyboard ;)) and educate the masses of people out there who are ignorant of my glorious revelation.
The only problem is, learning Christ is not like that. You can’t just read a book-even the Bible-and by your study suddenly become an expert on the subject of God (as if God is a subject to be studied). The kind of knowledge of Christ we need is experiential… one that is worked into our very being by the Lord Himself through time, testing, and many seasons of long growth. Such knowledge just does not come easy. Nor is it cheap. It takes a lifetime of many hard lessons to acquire.
I’m not saying things like Bible study don’t play a part, or that the Lord does not use scripture to build Himself into us. Of course He does. All I’m saying is that spiritual understanding is not like my son hearing an answer from me and then repeating it to his sister, as if he even knows what he is talking about yet. I can tell him how the lawnmower works-that you pour gas into the tank and the fuel makes the motor work to power the mower-and he can say “oh, ok”, but that doesn’t mean he really knows what he is talking about. The same goes for us reading a book, studying the Bible, or getting spiritual answers from our teachers and pastors. All those things may be good and have their place, but learning Christ is something more than that. May God show us what that means, and daily lead us into the knowledge of Himself, so that we ourselves become the embodiment of the message we seek to proclaim.