Releasing the Knowledge Trap

In reading and pondering John chapter 7, verse 18 stood out to me, “The one who speaks on his own authority, seeks his own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of Him who sent Him is true, and in Him there is no falsehood.” Jesus is making a contrast with Himself (who was sent by God with His teaching and sought God’s glory) and others (who spoke on their own to glorify themselves). Others possibly started with some truth but used that truth to glorify themselves. I asked myself a question, “How do I use knowledge?” This question led to other questions: “What are some inappropriate uses of knowledge?” and “How do I feel when others display knowledge?” and “What are appropriate uses of knowledge?” and “Has a pursuit of knowledge become a trap for my self-glorification?”  

What are some inappropriate uses of knowledge? The subject matter of knowledge can be in any area including practical, current events, people, and spiritual. I find myself wanting to be able to tell someone about a current event, to know more about someone than someone else knows, or to know more about a happening than someone else. All these wrong desires lead to me feeling superior and glorifying myself. Also, wanting to have the last word or listening to someone to see what I can correct are attempts to elevate myself over another. Furthermore, if I find myself interrupting others, expressing my knowledge (self-glorification) has trumped graciousness.   

1 Corinthians 8:1 states a timeless, universal truth, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” When knowledge becomes the goal in itself, it puffs one up. Knowledge can puff one up; however, saying that knowledge is not important can also puff one up! Knowledge of God is extremely important—we need to know Who we worship in all His grandeur and understand what is in His Word. If God did not want us to know Him in a variety of ways, He would not have left so many words (over 725,000) for us and left an interpreter (the Holy Spirit)!

To be honest, I sometimes get a feeling of envy when someone displays their knowledge. It may be their arrogant attitude that bothers me the most, but it is sin on my part to envy. Also, I sometimes come away wanting to prove myself be getting more knowledge for the next time I meet up with them. The truth found in John 7:18 of wanting glory for myself penetrated my heart and opened my eyes to some of my inappropriate uses of knowledge.

Wisdom is what I should seek, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” (James 1:5). Wisdom is the application of knowledge in a way that enriches my relationship with God and draws others to Him—this is a noble desire! Knowledge is not to be the end in itself; if it is, it becomes self-glorification.

In what area of your life has a pursuit of knowledge actually become a trap for seeking self-glorification? What habits would God desire to put in your life to use knowledge appropriately (wisely and graciously)? His power can release you from the trap of the inappropriate use of knowledge (which is self-glorification) if you will ask Him!

Image from “Advice for Sellers – How to Avoid a Big Trapp!!” activerain.com, accessed November 28, 2023,  https://activerain-store.s3.amazonaws.com/blog_entries/286/4956286/original/trap-33819.jpg?1475047622.  

PJ Beets is passionate about encouraging women and children through the Scriptures and life to see the compassionate God who redeems the rejected by acceptance, the silenced by expression, the labored by grace, and the lonely by love in order to set them free to serve in His ordained place and way for them individually and corporately. She has served the Lord through Bible Study Fellowship and her home church in various capacities with women and children. Upon turning fifty, she sought the Lord on how He would have her finish well which began her journey at Dallas Theological Seminary. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Studies as well as a Doctor of Educational Ministry in Spiritual Formation, both from from DTS. PJ is married to Tom, has three children, and six grandchildren.

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