Learning About God

Sometimes you pray to know God.

Sometimes you pray to know yourself.

Over the last few years, I have prayed a lot to know God. But recently, I have been praying to know myself. And in the process, I discovered something that I didn’t realize before- I’m too smart for my own good. I don’t mean that in an arrogant way. I mean it literally.

Throughout my life I have sought for knowledge above everything else. I wanted love; I wanted to be understood; I wanted friendship; I wanted help; I wanted so many things that I didn’t understand. And I thought that maybe if I could understand them, I could figure out how to receive them. If I just knew enough about love, maybe I could figure out how to make myself lovable. If I knew enough about God, maybe I could figure out how to be like him.

What I have realized though is that you can’t learn enough about certain things to make them happen. You can learn about chemical reactions and what causes them and then initiate some reactions, but no matter how much you learn about the sun, you can’t initiate or replicate its heat. You may get close, but you will never completely succeed.

The same is true with God. You can learn about God. You can learn a lot about God. But… that knowledge won’t initiate his grace or replicate his glory, at least not on its own. Only Christ and his atonement can initiate the process of change within us. Learning about God does not make me like him. In fact, it almost makes me less like him because some things can only be understood on the spiritual level and as long as I keep trying to understand it intellectually, I can’t fully accept it spiritually.

So recently, I have been trying to learn less about God and more about myself. The more I am learning about myself, the less I want to be like me. And that is really the most amazing part about all of this. God shows me who I am so that he can show me who he wants me to be. And as I learn to see my flaws, I learn to rely more on God, which teaches me more about him than I ever learned by reading and studying about him. I am learning to learn less and feel more, and as I am doing so, I am learning more than I ever thought I could.

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