Learned Christians who teach well and can exegete the difficult verses of Scripture are much admired within Christianity. Their goal is gaining knowledge about God and this is often equated with spiritual progress in the Christian life. Academic prowess is prized and church is often made into a classroom.
But the central idea that knowledge of theology is the same as spiritual progress is deeply flawed. One of the first and most fundamental things to understand about Godly wisdom is that the accumulation of information about God and even the intelligent application of that information is not necessarily in itself, Godly wisdom. Godly wisdom is measured more accurately by the extent to which we allow the Holy Spirit to make us more like Jesus in every area of our lives.
1 Corinth 1:30 tells us that it is because of God that we are in Christ Jesus “who has become for us wisdom from God–that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption.” Christ has literally become for us true wisdom from God. It is not the knowledge of Christ that is our wisdom; it is Christ himself! Thus, as the person of Christ is allowed to rule in us, the personification of His wisdom is revealed in us. Wisdom for us is not about placing our faith in the accumulation of information. Wisdom for us is Christ in us.
We are not simply collectors of information about God; we are receivers of living truth. Truth and wisdom are more than facts. They are a person. We receive living truth and wisdom through surrendering to the process of the character of Christ being perfected within us by the power of the Holy Spirit. As Christ lives and reigns in us, truth and wisdom live and reign in us.
After visiting quite a few Christian churches over the years, there is one thing that I have found particularly unsettling. It is the way so many Christian leaders in public ministry change their way of speaking to mimic the performances of certain other popular media-producing Christians.
They begin to use drawn out accentuation – God becomes Gawd. And many of their sentences end with extended, over-accentuated dramatic flourishes. It often sounds something like “Praise the Lord-uh” or “You just need to Believe-uh.” Sometimes there is even shouting and running back and forth combined with tears and strong exhortations. Is all this theatrical behavior supposed to represent to us that they are truly passionate about the Lord or perhaps that they have a special anointing from God?
Personally, I am immediately wary of any representative of the Lord who is using heavy verbal showmanship in the presentation of their message. I feel as though they are trying to both impress and manipulate me to believe that they are exceptionally Holy Spirit anointed and appointed men and women of God.
I believe that this is frequently an indication of a religious spirit that has infiltrated Christian ministry. What may have begun with all humility and sincerity is slowly replaced by religious performance and theatrical display. The Holy Spirit may very well be moving through them; even doing miracles. But, I also believe that in many cases they have chosen to believe that they must place a garment of performance over the cloak of their Holy Spirit anointing in order to be perceived as possessing a “special anointing” by the people to whom they are ministering. Reinforcing this behavior is the unfortunate reality that many of the people sitting in the pews show considerable appreciation for a good performance!
The primary danger is this: Once we determine to travel down the slippery slope of seeking the approval of man it becomes increasingly difficult to ever return to the straight path of humble service to God.
Matthew 23:5 “Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long…