Choose Not to Be a Know-It-All
One More Year of Choices…
By Barbara Dahlgren
The Bible exhorts us to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18) Such spiritual maturity is expected of a Christian. However, there are many things that might make this growth difficult, such as fears, worries, trials, critics, busyness, stress, and distractions. Yet, people manage to grow in spite of these circumstances, learning to trust Christ more than themselves. However, there is one barrier to growth that is very difficult to overcome. It’s hard to grow if you already know it all!
The “know-it-all” despises instruction, because he knows it all. (Proverbs 1:7) The “know-it-all” won’t listen to counsel because he knows it all. (Proverbs 12:15) The only opinion a “know-it-all” values is his own because he knows it all. (Proverbs 18:2) The “know-it-all” has nothing to learn because he already knows it all. So the “know-it-all” is basically unteachable. That’s a dangerous position to assume when so much of our Christian growth is based on being open to God’s instruction and wisdom.
God is very big on us being teachable. We have a lot to learn and are blessed when we let God instruct us. (Psalm 94:12) God instructs us through scripture. (2 Timothy 3:16) He has also given church pastors and teachers certain gifts used for “perfecting of the saints.” (Ephesians 4:11-13) This “perfecting of the saints” is just a way of saying as we learn God’s ways we grow in grace, godly knowledge, and spiritual maturity, which equips us to minister or help others. “Know-it-alls” have a hard time ministering to others because no one wants to be around them.
“Know-it-all” Christians are stumbling blocks to themselves and those around them. They tend to be critical, impatient, demanding, discouraging, and divisive instead of constructive, patient, gentle, encouraging, and unifying. They come to church out of obligation, but sermons really don’t apply to them because they know it all. They are more interested in biblical genealogies, archeological findings, and prophecy rather than learning how to enhance their daily walk with God. Since they know it all, they love to solve everyone’s problems, so they talk a lot to share their insights with others and rarely listen. Unfortunately, they really cannot relate to the struggles of others because their biblical knowledge makes them feel superior. They love feeling superior to others.
“Know-it-alls” miss the main point of biblical knowledge, which is to point us to Jesus Christ, not to make us feel superior to others. (John 5:39, 40) Christ never put himself above others. He ate with sinners, washed the disciples’ feet, talked to little children, served the sick, and loved the poor. His life teaches us what grace is all about.
Consider this… Those who think they know anything do not know what they need to know. (1 Corinthians 8:2) If we want to grow in grace and knowledge, we begin by having a humble and teachable spirit.
Suggestions for practicing this choice…
- Talk less; listen more.
- Try to be patient and kind, instead of harsh and critical.
- Resist the temptation to always be right or prove your point. Life is not a debate.
- Esteem others better than yourself. (Philippians 2:3)
- Study God’s Word and look for ways to apply it to your life, not to the lives of others.