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  • Writer's pictureBishop Canion

I Know Too Much

I Know Too Much

One day I was at the Mall, and as I was walking pass one of the restaurants, there was a young lady standing in front of the restaurant with a plate in her hand. On that plate, was a sample of the food they offered. It was not just any sample, it was what they felt was the best they had to offer. As I approached, she came up to me with a smile, and said try one, it is very good. I took a sample and she was right, it was delicious. It is interesting what happened when I ate it though. When I ate the sample, I acquired knowledge that I did not have before. Prior to eating the sample, I knew nothing about how it tasted, I only knew that it looked pleasant to the eye. After I ate it, my eyes came open and I knew something I did not know before. From that moment on, I had to deal with what I knew about how it tasted, and the pleasure it gave to my taste buds. Before I left the Mall, I stopped at the same restaurant to get more of the taste I had come to know. When I had my first taste and preceded to walk through the Mall, I could not ignore or unlearn what I had come to know by experience about how it tasted. The knowledge that I gained was a point of reference that stayed with me the entire time I was there.

When God warns us against certain behavior, it is because there are things that He does not want us to know. Once you come to know something by experience, you may constantly fight against the desire to feed that knowledge with another experience, which is a catalyst to bondage and addition. Initially, in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Even knew good but had no experiential knowledge of evil. The knowledge of evil, and its consequences, was what God did not want them to experience. He knew that they, and we, would forever be fighting against the evil we come to know.

Before I continue with that train of thought, I will go off the beaten path for a moment. One thing we learn from the sin of Adam is that when their eyes came open, they knew they were naked. They both gain knowledge they didn’t have prior to their sin. That begs the question, were they covered with something prior to the knowledge of their nakedness or were they naked all the time but didn’t know it, I believe both may be true. While this is just my opinion, I believe they were clothed in the garden, and the garment they wore was innocence. One definition of innocence is, lack of guile and corruption, it carries the idea of purity. A toddler will run around friends and strangers butt naked and feel no shame because the baby is clothed with innocence. He does not know he is naked, he is innocent of his nakedness.

Genesis 2:25 reads, Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

I think it is significant here that they are naked but shameless. The reason there is no shame is because they are clothed in innocence. The absence of innocence often causes shame. How often have you done things that were wrong, and even though others may not have been aware of it, you felt shame nevertheless. You realized that you did wrong, and in the process, you violated something you knew was right.

Maybe, when Adam and Eve disobeyed God they lost the garment of innocence they had always known, for the first time they knew what it was like to be uncovered. Being uncovered was both foreign, frightening and shameful; shame is the fruit of lost innocence and your sin being exposed.

In John the eight chapter, the man and woman who were caught in adultery knew that what they were doing was wrong: but can you imagine the shame they experienced when their sin was uncovered. There is a different between guilt and shame. Guilt, is more of a legal term. You are guilty when you break a law; however, shame does not necessarily follow guilt. Many times, shame, has to do more with your deeds being exposed and the emotional upheaval you experience because of your guilt. The man and woman caught in adultery were both guilty, but shame came when their guilt was exposed.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Adam and Eve, their normal changed in an instant. Their world was turned upside down. I can only imagine how pervasive the fear and uncertainty must have been.

I suppose they did the only thing they knew to do, they hid and covered themselves. They were accustomed to a covering, so the fig leaves were their feeble attempt to replace what they had lost. Now, back to my original train of thought.

Before someone experiments with drugs, their eyes are not open to any experiential knowledge of how drugs affect the mind and body. Once they use drugs their eyes come open to this knowledge and they find themselves prisoners of what they know. Before they knew, there was no struggle, but now they struggle because of what they know. Are you struggling with something that you have come to know by experience? There is knowledge that God does not want us to have, because He knows that it can become a lifelong struggle. The experiential knowledge of sin is the cause of much pain.

It’s one thing to have intellectual knowledge about something, but quite another to know it by experience. When Adam and Eve came to know sin by experience, it became a problem to them and us as well.

I heard a story about a woman who was trying to lose weight and she often talked about how difficult it was because she loved sweets. She said, “I don’t seem to be able to control myself when it comes to sweets”. On Valentine’s Day she received a gourmet box of candy in the mail. She said to herself, “I’ll just throw it away”. But instead of throwing it away she decided to eat just one. She convinced herself that once she ate one, her sweet tooth would be satisfied and the rest would be thrown away. She ate one, and another, and another. What was intended to be just one, ended up being the entire box. If she had not experienced the first piece she would have never eaten the thirteenth piece. When she ate the first piece, her eyes were open and she knew by experience how good it tasted. When you know by experience the affect that something or someone has on you, you must fight to leave it or them alone ; you cannot dabble with it, you must be done with it.

The Salesman is a proponent of encouraging you to try something, just one time. Can you imagine the number of people who thought their involvement in a certain thing would be a one-time encounter? But he used that experience as a foundation on which to build. He used the initial knowledge they gained, to set the stage for more. After your eyes come open, your flesh becomes a greater adversary in convincing you that whatever you did is worth doing again, because now you KNOW how it affects you. The flesh uses the knowledge you gained from what you did, to build a formidable case for doing it again.

I arrived at church one day and there was a fellow standing in front of the door. I knew him from the neighborhood because we had witnessed to him often. He had been addicted to drugs for years, and as we talked, he asked a question as though he was thinking aloud. With tears swelling in his eyes, he said, “Rev, why did I try crack the first time”? The Salesman used that young man’s initial involvement with drugs and the evil that he came to KNOW by experience as a catalyst toward addiction. He had spent years fighting and losing, against the knowledge of evil. There are some things that we just don’t need to know.

After your initial knowledge of evil, your imagination becomes more vivid because it is fueled by an actual experience. Before you knew evil experientially, your imagination may have lacked clarity but after just one time, the knowledge you gained made the imagery much clearer.

A professional football player once talked of how many times he had been offered drugs during his career. He said, “I made up my mind never to touch it because I was afraid I might like it”. He rationalized that the best way to deal with drugs was not to. Ignorance is not always a bad thing because the ignorance of evil is a good thing. It is easier to resist things you’ve never experienced than it is to resist them once you have an experiential point of reference. This is why the salesman wants you to get involved in some area of sin just one time. He knows that you will be fighting the knowledge of your sin, for a long time. I’ve never heard of a person who has never tried drugs getting addicted to drugs. Drug addiction starts with the eyes being opened to the knowledge of evil.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; but fools despise wisdom and instruction. My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head and chains about thy neck” (Proverbs 1:7-9).

Much pain can be avoided by believing what God says about the consequences, that’s wisdom. A child does not have to come to know the pain of being burned if he simply takes the word of the parents that the fire is hot. Adam and Eve had been foretold by God of the consequences of eating the fruit.

Genesis 3:2-3 reads, “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die”.

If you are struggling with the knowledge of some sin, you cannot undo or suddenly become ignorant of what you know. However, if you confess it and daily ask God for strength, spend quality time with Him in prayer, His word and fasting; He will strengthen you. You can win against the knowledge and power of sin. Just as you came to know sin by experience, you can also come to know by experience that the grace of God is sufficient. Jesus said you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. Ignorance of truth is a dangerous thing; but to reject truth is even worse.

Just as the children of Israel gathered manna daily, we must daily get what we need from God in our fight against sin, Satan and the world. I am convinced that in our struggle against sin, prayer, bible study, church attendance and fellowship with other believers are essential. God has and will continue to help us. Many times, our prayer can be summed up in two words, HELP ME.

Isaiah 40:28-31 (NIV)

28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

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