Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Devotional - The Difference Between Puffing Up and Building Up

Good Wednesday morning everyone; halfway through the work week. I pray you are having an excellent week. We are turning to 1 Corinthians 8 this morning.

I do not have to read very far in this chapter before I am struck by the Spirit:

Now about food sacrificed to idols: We know that we all possess knowledge. 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. vv. 1-3

Knowledge puffs up. We all know that, don't we, because we have all had that one annoying friend or co-worker who thinks himself a cut above everyone else. I liken it to being rich. Money doesn't make you any better than anyone else, in fact, money gives you more responsibilities. If God has blessed you with wealth then he has also loaded you with the responsibility to invest that wealth in people. If God has opened the doors for you to gain knowledge then good, because he has allowed that so you would use it for the benefit of others, not to lord it over them. Knowledge is not for hording away but instead it is for sharing and using for the benefit of people in your life; for the benefit of the community. It is not a weapon to use against people, it is tool for building in the lives of others.

The one way knowledgeable people can keep their arrogance in check is to make sure that their love is increasing with their knowledge. This is how we know love, it does no wrong to anyone, instead it builds people up.

Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.

Too often we use the tools we have to tear other people down. We use our knowledge, our ability to keep people in their place, looking down on them, but love does the opposite. Love finds ways to see the best in others, building them up so they do not feel left out or like they have nothing to contribute. A person may have knowledge but he has no wisdom if he doesn't realize we need each other.

There is a thought here that is one of my all-time favourites:

The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.

A man who thinks he knows a lot has yet to gain a proper perspective because most of us realize that the more we learn the more we know we don't know. Only God holds all knowledge of all things. Remember that humility is a heart condition and it is one we are suppose to maintain to keep healthy relations with each other and with the Father. In this age of super knowledge and the pursuit of knowledge we need someone to keep reminding us that it is not knowledge that will save us. It is also true that knowledge is not the center of the universe or of our lives. It is amazing how simple Paul puts the most important thing in the universe:

But the man who loves God is known by God.

There is nothing in the entire universe as important as this one truth. The most important thing is not knowing God but being known by him. This means that love is the single most important thing in our lives; more important than riches, fame or knowledge. Instead of allowing knowledge and the pursuit of it to control everything we do and think, we should be governed by two things:

" 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Luke 10:27)

This sums up and governs all things in our lives. Tomorrow we will look at one practical "working out" of this truth concerning love. Meanwhile, try to be a builder today according to the love Christ Jesus has given to you. See what happens are you become an encourager of others. May it be a day filled with the blessings and riches of our Father.

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