Head Knowledge Without Heart Knowledge:
Another challenge for Christian workers is what I call “Head Knowledge Without Heart Knowledge.” Man cannot solve this great challenge, but I believe God’s Holy Spirit is continually working on it through a process called ‘sanctification.’
Head knowledge is the knowledge we’ve gained from education or experience in our lives. It can be anything from memorized facts to working with numbers or learned living skills needed for survival. It can also be memorized scripture, religious customs and teachings, and terminology. Head knowledge is useless unless we use it in our daily lives.
Religious head knowledge is powerless without God’s Holy Spirit living in us, demonstrating the truth of it to our hearts and minds. In 1 Corinthians 2:14 scripture tells us, “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” Man in his own knowledge and strength can do nothing to bring about God’s will; nor can he thwart God’s will and plan.
Heart knowledge is when God’s Holy Spirit takes the word of God and reveals the deep, penetrating truths of it to our hearts, causing us to understand that word and to desire to change our lives to be in agreement with God’s word.
The Holy Spirit, in His own time and place, will take memorized scripture or Bible lessons a Christian worker has taught, and reveal the true meaning of it to our hearts. God will also use circumstances (good or bad) to bring about His revelation. Only “heart knowledge” can transform lives in miraculous ways. Perhaps an example from my life will clarify this better.
As a young woman, I memorized the words “God loves me.” I could have found the scriptures in the Bible to back up this statement. However, many ‘puzzle pieces’ were missing from my understanding until one day when God’s Holy Spirit filled in some of the holes, and turned my head knowledge into heart knowledge. This happened during a time in my life when I was in a great depression because of several bad circumstances in my life.
These circumstances included living with an abusive alcoholic for many years, the loss of several close family members during a very short time period, the struggle of learning how to care for a newborn, and the depression that comes to new mothers a few weeks after giving birth.
Over several years, I suppressed so much pain from the abuse and other circumstances that my physical body emotionally shut down. I was numb and exhausted, and I spent my days and my energy focusing on and worrying about the problems in my life. The more I focused on my situation, the more bleak and hopeless everything looked to me. I had no hope, and saw no chance of my situation ever improving.
One day, after a night of verbal abuse, I believed Satan’s lie. “You are worthless,” the words of my drunken husband kept running through my mind like a record that skips, playing the same few lines over and over again. “You never do anything…and you don’t contribute anything…nobody loves you…you’re the spoiled boss’ daughter..you are worthless,” and the message would start all over again. “Maybe you’re right,” I thought to myself. I believed I had no purpose, no reason to live, and no hope for the future. As the bad thoughts kept bombarding my mind, I reasoned that I might as well end it all and get out of the painful situation.
I reached into our silverware drawer, pulled out a sharp steak knife, and sat down on the floor of our mobile home. With tears falling from my eyes and my heart pounding loudly, I held the knife to my wrist and started to apply pressure because I wanted to end my suffering.
At the exact moment I applied pressure to that knife, my newborn son cried loudly from his bedroom. His cry pierced through my hysterical state of mind, and I froze. Thoughts instantly flooded my mind, “What will my son think about this? Will he blame himself for what I did? Who will take care of him?”
Suddenly I realized that I couldn’t do this to him, and I knew I had to live for his sake, if for no other reason. Then I went to his room, picked him up, and tried to calm both of us down. Then I realized that I needed help, but I didn’t know where to find the help I needed. Proverbs 15:3 tells us that “The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.” The Lord was watching me that day, and He had a different plan for my life!
Then I remembered the years of Sunday School I had attended and hearing that Jesus loved me, and about the great miracles He performed in the Bible. Scripture tells us, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26) That day, the Holy Spirit reminded me about learning that Jesus loved me, and brought revelation to me: Jesus or one of His angels woke my baby up at the exact moment I tried to end my life! “He must truly love me,” I thought to myself. “Even though I’m an emotional wreck and worthless, Jesus must truly love me! What other explanation could there be?I was home alone with the baby, and no one knew what I was doing except God.”
That moment I knew in my heart it was God who saved me. His love for me became a reality. No longer was scripture just empty, memorized words. God’s Holy Spirit brought heart knowledge of His love for me into my life! The revelation of God’s love brought tears to my eyes, and I cried. But these tears were different because they were tears of joy!
Psalm 40:1-3 (NKJV) says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.He has put a new song in my mouth–Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” God has truly done this in my life! Because I had heard the Gospel, the Holy Spirit brough revelation of God’s love for me, personally, into my life.
Now I know in my heart and in my head, that God loves me. His love has drawn me close to Him, and I’ve become a born again child of God. God has transformed my life, made me a new creation in Christ, and filled my new life with love and joy. Now I have a personal, one-on-one relationship with God. He is with me (in my heart) everywhere I go. He promises to never leave me or forsake me, and I believe Him because I know He loves me!
Having a personal relationship with God doesn’t mean my problems are taken away. No, we work through the problems together. I share my burdens with Him, and He leads me, gives me joy, and is my ever-present help in times of trouble. I give my problems to Him and He helps me work them out. When I face mountains–problems way to big for me–I give them to Him, and He works them out while I stand back and wait and watch for the deliverance of the Lord. He comes and rescues me because He is all-powerful and able to take care of me, and He is faithful to do it!
I know God is able to do this same thing for others who are hurting, broken, and hopeless! He doesn’t want anyone to perish because He loves everyone! The problem with Bible curriculum and/or teachings is that they can only give people head knowledge of God’s word unless the Holy Spirit is present, revealing and using God’s word for His purpose. We cannot bring the revelation that causes the scripture to penetrate someone’s heart. Only the Holy Spirit can do this. Consequently, many people can live their lives with head knowledge but miss heaven because they have not received revelation or heart knowledge.
Teachers are only responsible for putting God’s word out to their students. They cannot do the work in someone’s heart. It’s our responsibility to spread the Gospel, to explain and teach it as well as we can, to show how it applies to daily living, to pray that God will bring revelation of His Word to our students, and to live holy lives as examples. Beyond this, we can do nothing to save someone. We are only the vessel that God uses to spread His message of love to the world.