I have been struggling to find a fiction book to read lately, which means my falling asleep routine has been mostly the consumption of Marvel comics, most recently the Dark Reign era. Then, all of a sudden, I had an a-ha moment. Right before Ariella was born, I started reading Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time novels. Shortly after finishing the eighth book, I moved to Maryland and my life got crazy trying to find new rhythms. So, I recently started reading book nine of the Wheel of Time, Winter’s Heart.
The problem is seven years have elapsed since I last explored this universe. Within the first five pages, I found myself switching from the Kindle app on my iPad to the Wikipedia and Safari apps. I’m now 10% of the way through the book and have read more pages on Wikipedia and the WOT Wiki websites than I have read of the book itself. It is wonderful. Consuming information and refreshing old memories is exhilarating…it is intoxicating.
I sometimes get made fun of for being a know-it-all. My memory is pretty good and I love reading. I consume information, but I rarely go very deep into a subject…other than comic books, church leadership or rock music history. Therefore, I end up knowing a little bit about a whole, whole lot, and my desire to know about more grows. It is an appetite.
At it’s worst, it is an idol. The attainment of information is a god I find myself worshiping. I keep my phone in the kitchen when I get home from work so as not to be drawn to the worship of information that comes from shared articles on social media or via the random e-mails I receive. My wife and I have an agreement that I can check IMDB while watching shows because if I don’t, I will drive her crazy with theories of where I have seen a certain actor. To do that, I use her phone or my iPad, which is devoid of social media, e-mail, and iMessage.
I try to set aside this addiction, this submission to the god of knowledge, when I approach God. I try to listen to what God wants me to hear from Him when I read the Bible in the morning. I read to know how I can better love God, love my family, love my community, etc. I don’t read to know more about God. I set aside that goal, which tempts me so, and rather, I learn more about God so that I can grow closer to Him.
Knowledge is not the goal. It is a means to the goal.
Knowledge is important. I am not ashamed of the information I have been able to retain. When I get teased about it, I don’t feel shame. I’m trying not to feel pride. I’m trying to be helpful, not haughty. Likewise, in my pursuit of God, I’m trying to discover intimacy, not intellect. I’m trying to be a man of deeds that demonstrate my faith. I need to know God in order to be that man, so I learn about him…but I don’t want knowing about Him to be enough. I want that to be a step. I want to know Him.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3
Epilogue: This is NOT a license to not read the Bible, listen to wise sermons, read books, do Bible studies or small groups, etc. All of those things are important. All of those things help you learn about God, which allows you to discern how you can serve Him, love Him more, love your family and community more and discover “life to the fullest.”