How do we know if we’re growing in our faith? Why is it that someone can be a Christian for decades and know the Bible inside and out, but experience very little growth in their love for God and people?
I think one of the many problems is that people equate head knowledge with spiritual growth. They think by learning more information about God, they will become more like God. Unfortunately, that is not the case. If your knowledge of God and His Word remains “head knowledge” and never penetrates the heart, then you will experience very little life change.
Read what William Gurnall (1617-1679) says on this in his famous book on spiritual warfare, The Christian in Complete Armor:
He who has only a nodding acquaintance with the king may easily be persuaded to change his allegiance, or will at least try to remain neutral in the face of treason. Some professing Christians have only a passing acquaintance with the Gospel. They can hardly give an account of what they hope for, or whom they hope in. And if they have some principles they take kindly to, they are so unsettled that every wind blows them away, like loose tiles from a housetop.
When Satan buffets and temptation washes over you like a tidal wave, you must cling to God’s truths. They are your shelter in every raging storm. But you must have them on hand, ready to use. Do not wait until it is sinking to patch the boat. A feeble commitment has little hope of safety when caught in a tempest, While that flounders and drowns, holy determination, grounded in the Lord, will life up its head like a rock in the midst of the highest waves.
Scripture promises, “The people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits” (Daniel 11:32). An angel told Daniel which men would stand up and be counted for God when tempted and persecuted by Antiochus. Some would be taken in by the bribery of corrupt men; others would fall victim to intimidation and threats. but a few, would do great things for God. That is to say, to flatteries they would be incorruptible, and to power and force, unconquerable.
Head knowledge of the things of Christ is not enough,; this following Christ is primarily a matter of the heart. If your heart is not fixed in its purpose, your principles, as good as they may be, will hang loose and be of no more use in the heat of battle than an ill-strung bow. Half-hearted resolve will not venture much nor far for Christ.
In the complex, muddled world that we live in, it is not enough to have head knowledge of our faith, we must embrace it at the very core of who we are, then act on it.