Built Up Not Puffed Up

We have all come across a ‘know it all’ before!

A ‘know it all’ is someone who knows everything about anything, and only listens to what your opinions are so you can be corrected and brought into agreement with the ‘truth’.

Sometimes ‘know it all’s’ can be interesting, as they seem to have access to volumes of random statistics and information stored in their memory. But when you need someone or something of substance, you’re more likely to avoid the person who is ‘puffed up’ with information and go to a friend who although may have less knowledge, is able to build you up in love.

Paul wrote a letter to the church in Corinth who seemed to be more concerned with what they knew, rather than the quality of love they had for one another.

He summed up his approach in 7 words:

“knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up’ – 1 Corinthians 8:1b (ESV)

Another translation says that, “while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church” – 1 Corinthians 8:1b (NLT)

In other words, no matter how many mysteries of the faith you have a grasp on, no matter how many verses you have memorised, no matter how many famous preachers you have on your podcast list, and no matter how much information is able to be regurgitated, what truly counts is how much you are able to love.

In his letter to the church in Galatia, Paul addresses a similar issue in a different context, and says that, “when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love” – Galatians 5:6 (NLT).

There is absolutely no benefit to having insightful revelation or a special understanding of the scriptures if it’s end expression is not love:

‘Anyone who claims to know all the answers doesn’t really know very much. But the person who loves God is the one whom God recognises’ (8:2-3)

The language that God recognises is not knowledge, but love. Rather than seeking ways to get our opinions heard or our preferences prioritised, let’s seek out ways we can love in a way that builds up and strengthens the church!

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