My Online Education and Why It May Not Matter

We live in a wired world. There is certainly no lack of information freely flowing in the world today. One could find out information on any subject known to mankind with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Not only has information been pumped into our homes and workplaces but we also have the ability to take this information with us on the go. This digital age has seen immense good come from it and it has also had an epic downfall. Americans are spending more and more time online and less time on their faces before the throne of God, less time in community and less time on mission.

In my own personal “digital revolution” I have gained much. I subscribe to roughly 50 theologically based blogs, I listen to an average of 5 sermons every week day, I attend church online most weekdays, I listen to sermons on my way to and from work, I review for 4 publishers reading 4 to 6 books consecutively. If I’m not at home then I have my Kindle which is highly portable and even then when I am not attached to my Kindle, I have an e-book reader on my phone. I have a book in every room of my home (which my wife hates), and my library takes up a significant space in my basement. I own several versions of the Bible and a couple of commentaries to go with them. On top of all that I have two children and a wife to lead, a full time job and a cat to clean up after. The reason I bring up all this is not to show my own righteousness, for I have none of my own, but rather to say that in a world where information is at our fingertips, none of these things matter unless God is being glorified in my life and exalted above all else. If in the end I use these things to make myself puffed up then it is of no use to me or anyone else.

I have little formal education after high school and so in using all these things I have built an education for myself that builds itself upon the foundation of God and Scripture. Pastors like Tullian Tchividjian, David Platt, Matt Chandler, Craig Groeschel, Steve Furtick, Josh Harris, J.R. Vasser, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and John Piper are my educators. I do not agree with everything all these men say, yet I scour the pages of God’s word to build my own theology and view of who God is and what he has done. At the very heart of all these “things” I first find my heart inclined toward God and his Holy Spirit within me. These men are very great examples to me yet they are nothing in comparison with knowing Christ my Lord personally. In the end, knowledge that does not exalt God will end up exalting ourselves.

So why even bring up all these things? To illustrate a point that Paul tried to make for the Corinthians;

“Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.”

Paul wanted to make a point that no amount of works, good living, houses built, cars owned, information gained, can bring us into a deeper relationship with Christ. The Holy Spirit is alone responsible for making us into the likeness of Christ and it is before the throne where we are transformed into his likeness. No books or blogs or audio can do what the Holy Spirit was sent for. I was made to reflect the glory of God and if I do not use these things in a way that draws attention to Christ then they are useless. If I do not use the Word of God as the standard by which I hold all the knowledge I have gained then I am using a worldly standard, and that simply will not do.

This post was maybe useful for someone who worships the stuff that God has created instead of worshipping the creator. Maybe it has revealed that you are creating an idol out of the things you own. Let me remind you and myself that these things are created for our enjoyment but for his glory, not for ours. These things are to be used to bring the fragrance of Christ to the nations, to be used for the purposes God has set before us. If we do not acknowledge Christ ahead of any material possession we have, then we are worshipping an idol made with hands. So let us regard everything as dung in comparison to knowing Christ our Lord, and let us throw off every hindrance AND sin that does not first glorify God and point to him as the all-encompassing, sufficient, King of Kings.

 

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