I think a lot of things. I have a lot of opinions about a lot of different things. Most people do. (Or at least I think they do!)
Thinking is a good thing. We weren’t created to be robots or automatons. We are unique, thinking, feeling creatures. We all ought to learn to think critically and we all ought to learn to think for ourselves. It is good to be a thinking person. At least it is until you start to confuse what you “think” …
With what you “know”.
There is a difference. We don’t actually know that everything we think is true–but sometimes we act as though we do! Never is this more evident than in areas of religion and spirituality.
A lot of people think a lot of things about God. A lot of people think a lot of things about the Bible. A lot of people think a lot of things about how we should interpret certain passages of scripture–and they also think a lot of things about how we should apply them. I think a lot of those things are good. I also think a lot of those things aren’t so good.
But that’s just what I think.
And, whether you realize it or not, a lot of your own dearly held beliefs are just that: your own beliefs and thoughts. They’re not always what you know–sometimes they’re just what you think.
But here’s the deal — when life gets hard — when life gets messy — when life seems to be spinning out of control — it’s not your opinions that matter…
It’s what you know.
What you think often changes with time, but once you know something — once you’ve experienced it — once you know that you know that you know — it endures.
Many years ago I latched onto a simple but profound spiritual truth that I’ve returned to again and again in times of doubt and confusion:
Hold fast to what you know to be true.
Holding on to what you think to be true doesn’t do much of anything for you when you’re being tossed to and fro in a sea of confusion, contradiction, disappointment, and doubt. But holding fast to what you know to be true pretty much changes everything. What you truly know–what you know that you know that you know—is the anchor that always holds firm.
Philippians 3 is one of my all time favorite chapters in the Bible. One of my very most favorite verses in that chapter is one of the simplest. After Paul lists all his (very impressive) religious and intellectual credentials, he tosses all that aside and summarizes his life’s goal in this one heartfelt cry:
“That I may know Him …” (Phil 3:10).
That’s been my cry too. I don’t just want to know a bunch of stuff about God. And I don’t just want to think a bunch of things about Him–even if they’re good and true and amazing things.
I want to actually know Him.
The word Paul uses in Philippians 3:10 is the Greek word “gnosko” (which, by the way, is the same word he uses in Ephesians 3 when he prays that we might “know the love of God that passes knowledge”). Gnosko has very little to do with intellectual knowledge (thinking) and everything to do with revelation and intimate experience. Gnosko is knowing that you know that you know (that you know that you know that you know!).
Fortunately, God planned to answer my cry to know Him long before I ever uttered it. Here are a few of the ways He’s revealed Himself in my life — a few of the things I gnosko — a few of the thing things I know that I know …
- I know that I once was lost but now I’m found–I looked to everyone and everything before I knew it was Jesus alone who saved me
- I know that at the cross it was finished–I am forgiven, healed and delivered by the blood of Jesus–I’m perfect and complete in Him
- I know that I am a child of God–fully accepted and delighted in by a loving Father
- I know that He made a way for me to enter the most holy place and that I’m invited to boldly come before Him anytime, anywhere, and in any condition–I’m always welcomed with open arms–there is NO separation
- I know the love of God that passes knowledge–and I know nothing will ever separate me from His love
- I know the peace that passes understanding and that in His presence is fullness of joy
- I know I will gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and dwell in His house–forever
These are some of my anchors.To me, they’re not fairly tales or wishful thinking. They’re not contingent upon what anyone else thinks or what anyone else says. I feel no need to prove or defend them to a single soul. I don’t care whether or not they make sense to anyone else and I don’t care who “thinks” they can challenge the intellectual integrity of any of these statements. That’s because they’re not just statements to me.They’re not just thoughts …
This is my enduring reality. This is what I know. And whenever the things I “think” are being shaken (which they often are) …
I’ll continue to hold fast to what I know to be true.
What about you? What are the things you know to be true?