I, the Preacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I set my heart to seek and search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven; this burdensome task God has given to the sons of man, by which they may be exercised. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and indeed, all is vanity and grasping for the wind.What is crooked cannot be made straight, and what is lacking cannot be numbered.
- Ecclesiastes 1:12-15One of the lures and traps in today's world is that modern technology allows us to pay attention to a much wider range of issues than we used to. From grabbing the smartphone in bed at our morning wake up, to watching our favorite cable news shows late into the night, we can literally listen to and develop opinions on topics and issues that impact us only marginally at best, and perhaps not at all. Yet we strive to understand, in a vague sense of being able to do something about it all. In the verses above, in fact in all of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon, tells us to relax and not to concern ourselves with things we do not and cannot really understand.
The deeper problem is that these sources of knowledge are not very healthy for us. The apostle Paul warned Timothy to
...guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have departed from the faith.
- 1 Timothy 6:20-21There's a lot of "godless chatter" out there, and some of it even poses as Christian viewpoint. But a truly Christian viewpoint is one that is alignment with Paul's advice to the Philippians:
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
- Philippians 4:8Not a lot of that sort of thing in the daily news that we're bombarded with. We shouldn't be surprised...we've always known the world was a hard place. We just hear about it a lot more these days. And that process of following the news, as bad as it is, tends to become a bad habit that forms negative thoughts and turns to frustration and anger. Which is why Paul suggested doing the opposite.
For, as Peter reminds us, we already have the knowledge we really need to function effectively in the world...
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3-8I recently resolved to turn away from the news feeders, the radio talk shows, and the cable news...it was just dragging me down and rendering me ineffective as a tool for the Lord. Ten days later, I am refreshed, positive, and more upbeat about life. And there's a lot more Good News in front of me to focus on.
Thank you, Lord, for setting me back on the path of knowledge of righteous things.