As parents, we live in the age of information. With the world of knowledge at our fingertips, we can google anything from “Is my baby’s rash normal?” to “How far away is the moon?” and know the answer within seconds (it’s 238,900 miles in case you were wondering).
In fact, because of this abundance of easily-accessible facts and answers, we sometimes think we are far more knowledgeable than we actually are, and we may even start feeling pride in our understanding. This very human tendency is something that has been with us from the very beginning.
In Genesis, God placed Adam and Even in the pristine garden of Eden. And yet, surrounded by such beauty, they chose to break their perfect union with our Creator when they took from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. By choosing knowledge over knowing their Creator God, they placed themselves in the supreme seat of authority. God did not know best – they did.
They believed the serpent’s lie, when he suggested that God was holding out on them. Not content with what they were given (seriously, they could have eaten literally from any other tree), they chose to be in control. They needed to know. They wanted to be like God – more than that, they wanted to be God. They rejected His protection and His authority, and so death entered into paradise.
Millennia later, we still follow in the footsteps of Eve – we seek to know, especially when it comes to our children. After all, we’re told knowledge is power. But now the pressure to be fully informed, to know the most and the best information, can engulf us.
We cling to our well-researched methods, attempting to become all things to our children. We’re not only mother, we’re also doctor, teacher, coach, mentor, counselor, and chef. We watch YouTube videos and read some blog posts, trying to stay up on all the latest insights and trends.
In this age of information overload, it becomes hard to trust any authority on any subject. We can poll a group of Facebook friends and get dozens of differing opinions in minutes. How are we to ever know what is best?
When we make it our aim to attain knowledge of all the best parenting practices of today, we can come to love and worship our techniques, rather than our Maker.
Clearly, knowledge is not always a bad thing. Proverbs sings the blessing that knowledge brings. Romans 15 tells us it is a gift of the Spirit. However, unchecked knowledge can be dangerous.
We are told knowledge puffs up with pride (1 Corinthians 8:1). We are cautioned: “Be not wise in your own eyes” (Proverbs 3:7 ESV). We are warned to not be the sort of person who is “always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7 ESV).
When we rely on our knowledge, we no longer recognize our need for God and this indeed is the most perilous place to rest.
It is only when we acknowledge this need for God, that we can finally open our eyes to see Jesus for who He truly is and to delight in Him. If we think we have it all right, if we place our trust in all the knowledge we have acquired, we won’t love Him nearly as much. As author Jen Wilkin says, “The heart cannot love what the mind does not know.”
Dependence is the mark of a true Christ-follower. Jesus Himself told us to rely on God for our daily needs. He asks us to pray this way – “give us each day our daily bread” (Luke 11:3 ESV). We must come to Him with empty hands, not with our hands full of parenting books, spilling over with our knowledge, as if that will somehow make us more deserving of the outcome we so desire.
When we choose to eat from the tree of knowledge, hanging our hopes for our children on its branches, we ultimately choose death. We are placing our utmost hope not in Christ, but in ourselves, our skills, and our know-how. Like our first parents, we reject God’s kingship and sit as king over our lives, thinking we’re in control.
There is a better way, a way that leads to life. There was another, lesser-talked-about tree in the Garden: the tree of life. When we choose to eat from this tree by trusting in Christ, we hang our hopes on His blood-stained branches. We can see what it means to walk by the Spirit, empowered by the righteousness of His life-giving blood, and not by our own try-hard life.
We are free from carrying the weight of our goodness, because His branches hold it all. His blood covers all. We abide in this Vine. We rest in the shade of our Savior, drinking from the fountain of Living Water, partaking in the Bread of Life. We enter back into His presence through the Door.
Eating from the tree of knowledge can only be undone by a different kind of knowledge – knowing the One who died on the tree for us, the One who takes our sin and gives us His righteousness.
“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.” (Hosea 6:3 ESV).
“Now this is eternal life; that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom who have sent.” (John 17:3 ESV).
Just as Adam and Eve could not cover themselves with their self-made coverings of fig leaves, we cannot cover our shame with our fig leaves of performance. Our misshapen foliage composed of how soon our child strings together sentences, knows his alphabet, or recites memory verses isn’t going to justify us or our children before a Holy God.
We cannot be about making ourselves look great. God will not give His glory to another. Praise God that we don’t have pretend we know all the things. We just have to know the Fount of all knowledge – our Savior, Jesus Christ.