Knowledge Puffs Up
Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know. But the man who loves God is known by God. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 NIV)
The fact is this, that we may advance a long way in spiritual knowledge (I mean in information, the knowledge of the truth) beyond our own real measure, and then have the shock, under terrible conditions, of discovering that all that we have accumulated through the years does not help us. We are right up against things and have to say, "I have not got the realities I thought I had, they are not helping me; I am being brought right back to foundations in my real, personal, living knowledge of the Lord Himself." The peril then, of course, is to jettison all the teaching we have had and to say that it is a valueless thing. It is not valueless; but we must recognize that there is all the difference between knowing the thoughts of God in our minds, and the Holy Spirit's using that knowledge to accomplish God's ends. Thus we have to come back with every fragment and have very real dealings with the Lord. Our attitude every time must be, "Lord, do save me from ever coming to the time when what I have heard proves only to have been a thing heard; make it a basis of Holy Spirit activity to reach the Divine end."
Now, if you can grasp this, it is going to be a great deliverance. Why are the people of God suffering? That they may be conformed to the image of His Son. Of course, we may not need a world upheaval to do that, but God is going to use all conditions to that end, and, tragically enough, there are multitudes of the Lord's people who do need a world shaking. They are so bound up with the externalities of Christianity, with its whole structure and system, that nothing but that which will overthrow, disintegrate, destroy, and raise tremendous questions about the whole business, will bring them to the place where the Spirit of God can begin really to do the work which He has come to do in them.