Challenging The Notion That More Information Makes You A Better Christian

Hearing & Doing; Information & Transformation

Derek Sivers is an entrepreneur who created CD Baby, an online “store” with $100 million in sales for 150,000 musicians. In 2008 he sold CD Baby for $22 million, giving most of the money to a charitable trust for music education. He’s published 33 books and is a frequent speaker at TED conferences. I don’t know his “religious” orientation, but for my purposes today, that doesn’t matter. Having briefly acquainted myself with his young life (he’s only 49 years old), I’m impressed by his ability to get things done. It’s obvious he’s a book guy – loves to read, comment on what he’s read, and recommend books to others. 

So, it might be surprising when he drops this wisdom bomb: 

If [more] information was the answer, then we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.

One of the great frustrations with what I do, is running into person after person who talks, thinks, or writes about ideas, theories, and information but fails to live it. That’s true for about every sermon you’ve ever heard. 

Most evangelicals are convinced that what they need is more information. They believe that if they have enough information, they will become saints. Not so! 

What did St. James write: “Be doers of the word, not hearers only.” He goes on to explain that when you hear the word your tendency is to be satisfied with that alone. You see who you really are then forget it. James says you are deceiving yourself. You are only blessed by doing not by forgetful hearing. 

Church leaders are the worst offenders. They study and teach the Bible regularly. Yet don’t take the time nor tools to actually live what they’re teaching.

So, this cycle of deceit is lived out week after week – giving more information but little on how to grapple with it.

Bible studies have the same affect. More and more information. Little or no change.  

You have enough information. 

I just read Colossians chapters 3 and 4:1-6. There is enough there to keep you occupied for the rest of your life. You don’t need more information. You need to figure out how to put these exhortations into practice. 

Apply this to the Sermon on the Mount, Ephesians 5, 6 or Philippians 2. 

If more information was the answer, we’d all be living sinless lives with fully enlightened minds.

As a Christian, it’s not what you know [intellectually], it’s what you do consistently that matters to God and others. 

What do you think? Share below

Dr. K

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

4 thoughts on “Challenging The Notion That More Information Makes You A Better Christian

  1. Keith, I can’t begin to tell you how the Lord keeps bringing this subject to light in my life. In talking to Mark this morning I just ended up in tears over this. Feeling like I am being told I need all this knowledge, when really I just desire more of fellowship with God. I want to love Him and love others. I may not always comment on your post but I always read them and they make me think. Again fond memories of our time hanging out at your beautiful home with you and Rhonda

    • Hi Wendy. Your hunger for God cannot be satisfied by ideas and concepts. You’re talking relationship! So, do all you can to deepen that relationship – prayerful communion is key. You’ve got enough information. Just BE WITH God. Eternal life is knowing God not knowing about God. You and Mark are in my prayers. Please come see us again. We loved it! Keith

  2. Hey Keith,

    You are the counter-cultural guru, at least when it comes to the American church. I love it, though, because it exposes so much wrong thinking that I have assimilated as well. I’m a little over halfway through the book “You Are What You Love” by James K.A. Smith. Fabulous read. It’s subtitled “The Spiritual Power of Habit.” One quote along the line of what you write above: “We learn to love, then, not primarily by acquiring information about what we should love but rather through practices that form the habits of how we love.” It’s been an excellent read so far. I highly recommend it. It’s challenging me in significant ways, just as your blog does. Thanks for continuing to poke and prod!

    • Hey Brian. Thanks be to God!! I was given that book last year and dug into it immediately. He is right on (until he gets into worship – he has to address this for his audience, but it left me empty). When God sends you the same message in various ways, He’s probably trying to get your attention. 🙂 His “liturgy of the mall” (pp. 40-46) is priceless! Your quote is dead on. We were made to live liturgically. That’s how we humans function best. I hope his writing will inspire habits in you that will make your journey a “glorious struggle.” Its such a joy to have your companionship on the journey. Blessings! Keith

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