Often I have heard it said that to really know something you have to teach it. I have also heard people say that the longest journey is the one that goes from the head to the heart.
Inherent in both these ideas is the fact that we know that “to know” is deeper than something intellectual. It’s not just the ability regurgitate facts and ideas. To truly know is something almost intangible. None of us can really communicate it with words, we know it when we see it or experience it.
When I mentor people we talk about the learning process. I use and illustration of a square made famous by Mike Breen. He talks about a four step process: unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, unconscious competence, and finally conscious competence. This last stage, “conscious competence,” comes about when we know that we know that we know.
Jesus said, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. (John 8:31-32)”
How do we live a life of freedom? We “know the truth.” How do we know the truth? We “continue in” Jesus’ “word.”
Like most things, it is indeed simple. But the simplicity demands all of who we are.
There are two key words in this little sentence from Jesus. First, “continue.” This is not an effort kind of “continue.” Jesus is not here saying “keep working at it, do more, and put more effort into being in my word.” It’s much deeper that that. The sense here is “to stay, remains, live, dwell…” These are states of being. Jesus wants us to dwell or live in his word. This means that we find our sense of being in him. If we will seek to live in his word then we will come to “know the truth” and that will “make you free.”
This sense of being continues with “know.” It is not an intellectual knowledge. It is experiential. Often this word is used in connection to having sex. That is an “experiential” knowledge of another person. It is bodily and physical. The knowledge that Jesus is talking about is not a disembodied intellectualism. Jesus wants us to live out his word in our bodies. This ties into how we act, how we behave, what we do.
Freedom is not found through cold, disembodied, intellectualism. Freedom is found by living Jesus’ words.