Verse: Matthew 7:24-27
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
I love reading and learning things. I usually read at least a few articles online each day and a few books each week. New online course? Sure, let’s try it out. New YouTube video on a topic I’m interested in? Yep. Basically if I can learn about a topic and there’s information available, I will learn as much about it as I can.
There’s nothing wrong with knowledge. It’s helpful for understanding the world and the people in it, and can help us make higher quality and faster decisions. Plus it feels good to know things! We like to chase that rush of learning a new thing, or knowing some more about a topic that’s fresh and exciting. The downside? Well, it can be a trap. Knowing a lot about the topic isn’t the same as knowing the topic.
You can read a hundred books about parenting and have no clue what to do when your kid decides it’s time for a fresh coat of wall paint, using fingernail polish. You can read and (angrily) comment on a thousand political posts on social media and still not practice what you preach about how politics should work. You can watch every humanitarian effort documented on YouTube and feel connected to various causes, without ever actually helping anybody personally.
The trap is that learning and doing are closely related and it’s easy for our brains to crave the rush of learning and avoid the pain of doing. It’s why Jesus puts the caveat in his sentence above: “everyone who hears these words of wisdom AND puts them into practice is like a wise man who built is house on the rock”. Even in the description, the man isn’t just wise by knowing the right type of foundation for the house, he actually did the work of building his house on it. If he had only known what to do, we would call him the knowledgeable man, not the wise man.
Jesus calls us to be wise a lot. Almost every verse in the Bible that talks about wisdom juxtaposes being wise with being foolish, and the difference between the two usually comes down to the actions. Having knowledge makes you knowledgeable, not wise. Knowledge plus correct action is what builds wisdom, and is what Jesus sets as our standard so that we can live our lives to the fullest and not be beset by constant problems. Strong foundations of solid decision making and actions lead to fewer avoidable issues over time.
Take some time to challenge yourself today. Do you just know a lot about the Bible or are you wisely adding to your solid foundation by acting on that knowledge?
Author: Jordan Ambra