A recent survey done by the Pew forum entitled ‘Religious Knowledge Survey’ concluded that although Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, they are also ignorant about their religion. These findings are not a surprise to anyone who has done an objective analysis of a great majority of today’s churches, and some would even go so far as to say that there is an epidemic of ignorance in the church, but even though the veracity of this study’s conclusions are doubtless true, it is by no means acceptable.
Whether due to ignorance or outright indifference much of the church fails to acknowledge that we face an enemy who is a schemer at heart, whose plans extend beyond a single phase attack, who has backups for his backups, and whose singular desire is the destruction of God’s children.
Even the most basic of the enemy’s attacks is multilayered, because he is not one to give up, he is not one to surrender, and he continues to storm the citadel of the soul wherever he perceives there is a weakness or a crack.
The first way in which the enemy makes war against the children of God is by employing temptation, which coincidentally is also the most successful weapon in his arsenal. When we speak of temptation, the mind automatically latches onto lust, but there are a variety of things that believers are tempted with on a daily basis. For some lust is a nonstarter, but pride might be their weakness; if pride is not their Achilles heel, then perhaps greed is, and if greed fails tempt them into glutting themselves with the Babylonian delicacies, then perhaps the enemy might have a shot with compromise. On an almost monthly basis we hear of preachers, evangelists, respected members of the Christian community giving into one or more of these temptations, and when this occurs the enemy just moves on to his next potential conquest.
There are those who resist temptation, there are those who stand strong against the plans and schemes of the enemy, but make no mistake the enemy does not give up that easily. If he cannot tempt us into becoming vessels of dishonor, he just moves on to the next phase of his attack, which is deception. If the enemy can’t tempt you away from the truth, he will invariably attempt to deceive you away from the truth. Just as a drop of ink in a gallon of water makes the entire thing undrinkable, a little deception can have devastating ramifications in the lives of believers.
I’ve known people who allowed a hint of false teaching to creep into their doctrinal beliefs, who eventually came to deny the deity of Christ, who questioned the virgin birth, and whether the resurrection of the Son of God really happened. It started small, and snowballed into apostasy.
If the enemy can’t tempt you into becoming a vessel of dishonor, if he can’t deceive you into forfeiting your birthright, then he will settle for keeping you ignorant of the power and authority that you have in God.
It is this last group that is by far the largest, masses of individuals who although strive for righteousness, and keep themselves pure in the sight of God, are ignorant of the power that they have access to in Christ Jesus by way of the Holy Spirit.
The enemy loves an ignorant Christian, because an ignorant Christian is a powerless Christian, and a powerless Christian is no threat to the enemy at all.
So how do we combat ignorance? How we keep from being just another face in the crowd that is unaware of the promises of God for them, that is unaware of the power of God in them, and that is unaware of the authority that they posses?
The first thing we must do in order to combat ignorance is be humble enough to learn!
We all like being teachers, but few of us like being taught. It is human nature to think that we know it all, that we’ve amassed all the knowledge there was to amass, and as such we are no longer teachable. We are no longer humble enough to acknowledge our need to grow in wisdom, and so we shut ourselves off from any further Biblical knowledge that was not included in our denominational packet. A wise man once said that it is when we are frail and old, it is when we are at death’s door that we realize just how little we knew in comparison to what there was to know. We must never stop learning, we must never stop growing, we must never stop searching the scriptures, and we must never think ourselves above being taught. I’ve been taught powerful truths through the mouths of babes and laymen alike. I don’t know it all, but I strive to grow in knowledge, and am humble enough to learn from my fellow brothers and sisters alike.
The second thing we must do in order to combat ignorance, is know the Word of God. When I speak of knowing the Word of God, it is not by way of second hand information, but personally knowing the Word of God.
Psalm 119:105, “Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.”
This was David’s firsthand experience in regards to the Word of God. He did not say ‘your word is a lamp unto the feet of my pastor, and I follow in his footsteps’ but rather, the word of God was a lamp unto his feet, a light to his path, something personal and intimate.
Know the word of God and you will be able to resist temptation, you will be able to spot deception, and you will be able to combat ignorance. Knowledge is the death of ignorance, and the knowledge of the word of God will bring untold benefits to our lives if we remain diligent in it. The knowledge of God’s word is not reserved for theologians and preachers, all of God’s children must know His word, because His word contains His will, His promises, His grace, His mercy, and His righteousness.
The third thing we must do in order to combat ignorance, is apply the word of God. Head knowledge of God’s word is useless if it is not properly applied. In the aforementioned study it turned out that atheists were the least ignorant of all when it came to religion yet their knowledge did nothing to save them from the darkness and despair in which they find themselves because they never applied it. Knowing the word of God is only half the recipe, and without the ingredient of applying what we know to our daily lives it remains static and unsatisfying.
It is of utmost importance that we know what we have in God, that we know what we posses in Christ, because in knowing what we have become in Him we have the necessary boldness and courage to do great and mighty works for the glory of the Father.
As Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, they ran across a man who had been lame from his mother’s womb. Seeing as Peter and John were about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms, and it is in Peter’s answer to this lame man that we see what the knowledge of what we posses in Christ does.
Acts 2:6-8, “Then Peter said, ‘silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them, - walking, leaping, and praising God.”
Peter knew what he didn’t have, but also what he had. He knew he had no silver, he knew he had no gold, but he knew that he did have the power of God. Peter didn’t say ‘what I think I have, or what I hope I have’ but rather ‘what I do have I give you’.
We must be certain of what we have in Christ, both the power and the authority that we have in Him, and the more we grow in knowledge, the more we grow in understanding, the more we humble ourselves and become teachable, the more we study the Word, and the more we apply it to our daily lives, the more we will see the death of ignorance, and the birth of power in our daily lives.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.