Brain“…We know that we all possess knowledge. But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” 1 Cor. 8:1 (NIV)

Chapter       (NIV)

Audio           (1:54)

Jarvis Sutton probably wishes he had a little more knowledge after being arrested for calling 911 over 80 times requesting Kool-Aid, burgers, and “weed”. As physicians however, our problem is usually the opposite…having too much knowledge!

As Paul reminds us in this verse, physicians are in danger of becoming “puffed up”. We can think we are better than others who have less knowledge, or we can fall into the trap that we have more worth in the world because of our special knowledge.

One way to counter this tendency toward pride is to remember that there are several categories of knowledge. At the conclusion of our medical training, we have accumulated a great deal of technical knowledge regarding our particular area of specialty. However, because we have sacrificed significant time and energy to gain this technical knowledge, we are often deficient in other categories of knowledge such as relational knowledge, knowledge of self, and particularly, our knowledge of God.

A Harvard Business Review blog agrees stating that too much knowledge can undermine the ability to have insight and wisdom. According to the author, “…our expertise in certain areas necessitates weaknesses elsewhere.”

It can be quite humbling to realize that when it comes to the issue of living a life full of joy, technical knowledge is the least important category of knowledge to possess. Yes, medical knowledge is helpful for us to earn an excellent living and positively impact the lives of others, but it does not guarantee or even predispose us to a life of joy.

The joyful life is achieved as we increase our knowledge of self and especially our knowledge of God. Remember, knowledge of God is different than knowledge about God. Knowledge about God is just another form of technical knowledge. Knowledge of God is the knowledge we gain as we personally experience Him working in our life through the indwelling Holy Spirit. That kind of knowledge will never cause us to be “puffed up”, but keeps us humble as we draw closer to Him.

Prayer:  Lord, protect me from becoming puffed up by the medical knowledge You have allowed me to gain. Help me to become increasingly aware of your indwelling presence so that I may learn more about You. 

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