Saturday, March 14, 2009

True Knowledge

For years, I sought to learn my way out of my bondage. I thought that the more I knew about recovery, psychology, myself, and even God, the closer I would be to true healing. I read all the books on eating disorders I could get my hands on, worked all the treatment programs with commitment and tenacity, and I even majored in Psychology in college. I took a class on Psychology of Assessment, where I wrote about 150 pages on myself. I memorized scripture, attended church, engaged in Bible study, and talked circles around truth. I knew the truth. I preached it to others. In my years of battling my eating disorder, I became a professional at detecting its presence in others, calling it out, and teaching them how to recover. Some even took the knowledge, ran with it, and actually recovered. I looked on with envy, and I wondered why I did not truly grasp it the way that these friends did. It was like when I was a kid and I taught my brother how to blow a bubble with bubble gum. He not only learned how to blow a bubble, but he blew one twice as big as I did. I was irate. I wanted to unteach him. While I did not want to take back the words and skills from my friends, and I truly rejoiced in their healing, I mourned for myself and questioned why I was not finding healing.
I caught a glimpse of why I had not truly experienced healing when I went to Arizona to Remuda Ranch. Though I did not find true healing during my time at Remuda, I was given the life-changing truth that would prove to be the seed for the transformation that would take place three years later. Though I left Remuda defeated and in bondage, I see now that it was all part of God’s process of transformation. I love how, as He gives me His eyes, I see His hand in places where I believed that He was entirely absent. The Lord laid Ephesians 3:19 on my heart, which says that when we receive God’s gift of His spirit and revelation:
That you may really come to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ which far surpasses mere knowledge without experience; that you may be filled through all your being unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the Divine Presence, and become wholly filled and flooded with God Himself].
Paul prayed that the church at Ephesus would come to this intimate knowledge through true, deep, experiential understanding of the character and person of Christ. The key: This knowledge cannot come except through active, personal, experience of God through His faithfulness as we step out in obedience. I was trying to learn without doing, and I was dying with a very extensive “knowledge” of the truth, recovery, and God. But I did not truly know; because I didn’t take the risk and step out on the knowledge that I was given. God gave me great gifts of a love for learning, study, and research. I was not a steward of this gift, because I was not using it to allow Him to transform me to His true character. Ephesians four goes on to talk about the full knowledge that is promised as we mature in obedience and conformity to the character of Christ.
Because I love to study the Greek language, I am compelled to include this vital distinction between two types of knowing found in the Greek, but not found in the English language. Please don’t miss this amazing truth found in the different Greek words for “knowing.” The basic Greek word for “know” is “ginosko.” This root word means “to be taking in knowledge.” This is what I was doing for years. This was not wasted. I was building this foundation to take me to the next level of knowing. This word also emphasizes approval. I approved of God’s word, even though I had not yet acted on it. It was a divine process. The next step that Paul beckons the church at Ephesus to grasp, is an intimate knowledge, which is known to the Greeks as “epiginosko.” It is a more advanced knowledge and special appreciation of the object known, in this case, God. You can know (ginosko) the truth, but until you know and believe it (epiginosko), you cannot find true freedom. You have to actively participate in the truth in order to truly epiginosko it. This knowledge perfectly unites the knower with the known. I deeply desired to be perfectly united with the Lord, but I had to actively make Him THE LORD of my life. For so long, I felt like my knowledge was only in the abstract, and it was. The only way for it to move from the abstract to the concrete was to bite the bullet and do the hard thing: I had to ACT on it. We are to confess with our mouth and BELIEVE in our heart that Jesus is Lord. Belief is evidenced in action.
For so long, my nutritionist pointed out that I behaved as if I was just a head, with no body. When there is no body, there is no heart. I stayed in my head. I denied the needs of my physical body, and I denied the needs of my heart. I STUDIED the word, I STUDIED the human mind and even the human heart, but I never used my body to act it out. I never sought with my heart. The life of the mind is vital, but it is nothing without heart behind it and fueling it.
In summary, practically, what did this epiginosko look like? I had to eat, not exercise, and listen to God and the voices of truth in my life. I had to combine my Bible study with obedience. It took a while, but not too long. Maybe a couple weeks. But then I started to truly HEAR the voice of the Lord. The head knowledge descended into my heart. I sat and listened to the Lord. I kept studying, but I ceased striving to know more. This epiginosis was deeper, more real, and more transformative than anything that I had ever experienced. They were right at Remuda. I needed to KNOW the love of God that transcends all understanding. I had to stop talking the talk and start walking it out. I was a hypocrite, a Pharisee, and a bodyless head. As I obeyed, my heart came to life. My body came to life.
God is the God of creating good from what Satan intended for evil. Satan tried to keep me in my head. Now, God is using my head knowledge to develop and mature my newly acquired heart knowledge. The years of study were not at all wasted. They were stepping stones to get me to the place where I could use it to step out in faith and see that it was all true. Now I really know, and I will come to know more and more as I walk out my profession of faith. I have the tools. I have the head knowledge. And praise God, in His grace and mercy, I now have the true heart knowledge.

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