EXPOSE | Head Knowledge vs. Heart Knowledge
“How do we go from the instruction of Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding,” to the personal affirmation of the writer of Psalms 56:3–4, “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid”? In other words, how do we go from head knowledge to heart application?” – Josh Squires
EXPLORE | The Danger of Head Knowledge
Take a good look at the picture.
That could be your head.
Okay, maybe not literally. But spiritually, that actually is what can happen if we’re not careful.
It’s what our heads look like if all we do is store up knowledge: like an orange on a toothpick. Strong in the head. Weak in the body. Which is precisely what we’re trying to prevent with this blog.
Wisdom is more than knowledge.
Knowledge puffs up, if there is no place for it to go. If we’re not doing anything with it, the heart grows weak, and the body… withers. In other words, head knowledge should lead to action.
James makes a pretty clear, bold statement about keeping it all in our heads: “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22 (emphasis mine; in this case, I appreciate the way the NLT renders this verse)
Unfortunately, gravity is no help here. It isn’t a natural occurrence.
EXECUTE | What To Do if it’s “All In Your Head”
I’m reminded of the phrase, “it’s all in your head.” Of course, we use that phrase to infer a level of psychosis. However, it may not be too far-fetched when discussing that “our knowing is void of the reality of doing.” Consider these approaches to help our head knowledge flow out through our hearts:
Focus the heart on the mind.
“The Bible speaks of the brain as the center of our thinking and has much to say about the condition of our minds. The heart represents our affection, emotion, and personality… In Matthew 23, Jesus censured the scribes and Pharisees for studying the Law without applying it to their lives.” – Dr. David Jeremiah
Setting our affections on what we know to be right and good can be the tipping point for moving from knowing to doing. Eventually, we’ll care enough to act.
Don’t be persuaded by the path of least resistance.
“Have realistic expectations for the presence of both suffering and service in the Christian life… “Paul is clear in both Romans 5 and 1 Thessalonians 4: Belief in God’s promises doesn’t shield us from pain but rather redeems it. The gospel tinges our pain with hope and thereby makes it more manageable, more purposeful — not nonexistent.” – Josh Squires
There may be a bit of paralysis when we are mentally focused on finding the path that has the least amount of obstructions. And we should know that we are to expect opposition when doing what God has called us to.
More God coming in, should lead to more God going out.
“Scripture memorization is vital. It is a forgotten art in the age of the search engine, but being able to recite one or more of God’s actual promises from his word rather than just some general Christian truth is crucial.” – Josh Squires
Both meditating on Scripture, and memorizing a hymn or song that accurately communicates God’s truth, can be used by the Spirit to prompt action. Knowing what to do goes hand in hand with being able to apply it when it is needed. God will provide both opportunity and means to act as we are sufficiently taking in His truth. And given music’s emotional power, it can drive our affections toward doing.
Focusing on others should also be a proper motivator for moving from knowing to doing. Others may have need of what we know. How is it that they benefit from it if never leaves our heads?
“Applying God’s promises of grace and comfort to our hurting, fearful, or angry hearts is where the rubber meets the road for many Christians.” – Josh Squires
A first step, or, perhaps a new step, may be to obligate ourselves to a need in the church or to someone we know is struggling. Practice the action we need to take to allow the freer, and more consistent, flow of head knowledge into “full knowledge”. It is called “epignosis” and has the sense of knowing from having experienced something first hand. In other words, you know honey is sweet not because you read that it is, but because you’ve actually tasted it. Action begets action.
Nothing changes… nothing gets better… no one feels love… no one is appreciated… nothing is corrected, guided, or stopped without our pushing knowledge down through to our heart and out our limbs and lips.
Nothing wrong with gaining knowledge. The problem comes when we don’t do anything with it.