How to… Obtain Knowledge

We gain knowledge from a variety of sources. The goal, of course, involves obtaining knowledge from positive sources that helps us grow. Part of that goal includes sorting out knowledge that comes from deceptive sources and/or that won’t contribute to our growth in a positive way.

Knowledge is another important element in our journey to Be Victorious. So how do we obtain knowledge that helps us grow and at the same time avoid accumulating knowledge that is not edifying?

My health journey has involved a tremendous amount of sorting through good and bad information. I collected knowledge that helped and tossed what did not.

My sources of information included the internet, doctors, magazines and books along with friends and acquaintances going through similar situations. No one source provided all the answers. Rather, the solution to my struggle with depression and other nagging health issues involved knowledge gained from a variety of sources.

The idea that small changes made over time add up to make a huge different certainly applies here. As I collected information and through the process of trial and error, I slowly made changes mentally, physically and spiritually that brought me to a place of health and wholeness.

Through this process, I learned several lessons that others can use to obtain knowledge in a way that promotes growth and health as an individual.

  1. Persistence is an absolute necessity. Simply refusing to give up is half the battle toward obtaining knowledge that promotes healing. For more on this topic, read the post How to… Be Persistent.
  2. Know thyself. I wrote in my journal regularly to help sort out what I was feeling physically, mentally and spiritually. I also kept food and exercise logs as well as noted how I felt throughout the day. Knowing myself well helped me identify the information that would help me most.
  3. Look for knowledge to come in unexpected ways. From the waitress at the coffee shop to your pastor, anyone can give a tidbit of information that provides a small step in your journey. Refuse to discount any information until you have had time to pray over it and to corroborate it with additional sources.
  4. Have & focus on goals. My first goal as I searched for the knowledge I needed was to overcome depression. I felt, and still feel, I can deal with any physical ailment as long as I’m stable mentally. I then focused on the physical ailments. Within all of this, I kept a focus on growing spiritually, knowing this was the glue that held all else together.
  5. Be aware of information overload. As I’ve already mentioned, there is a lot of good and bad information available. More than that, there is simply a lot of information coming at us constantly.  Take in information in bits and pieces and avoid taking in so much that you can’t process anything. And be sure to take breaks from building knowledge. On a regular basis, let yourself relax in a good book or movie or time with friends.
  6. Realize your helplessness and dependence on God. The hope of deliverance from the pit of depression kept me moving forward and pursuing knowledge. Most importantly, knowledge of the Source of that hope trumped all else.

In Hosea 4:6 we read that the people were actually being destroyed by a lack of knowledge and that the leaders (priests) had actually rejected necessary knowledge. Regardless of the situation, a lack of knowledge creates a severe handicap that leads to an unproductive and sometimes hopeless life. God gives us the knowledge we need to live victorious lives. Above all, as our knowledge of Him increases, He gives us opportunity to increase in knowledge in all other areas of our lives.

DISCUSSION: How does the difference between knowledge and information fit in with this discussion?

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Be determined. Pursue simplicity. Find balance. Be curious. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Age gracefully. Make the most of every opportunity.


September 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Knowledge can be a tricky thing. Sometimes what we call fact and knowledge is only theory. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference. I know I must be careful calling something fact that may not be.

As we gather information we can stack it against itself to see if something is eliminated. We should not limit our selves to only certain people when we seek knowledge. I have learned a lot from people I did not like nor trust. That did not make what they knew to be wrong even if I wanted them to be wrong. This goes to your point where you said “Refuse to discount any information”.

It helps to have some type of organization around your knowledge. That helps put it into perspective and allows the knowledge to become clearer. Things can be very complicated and if the knowledge and information are not organized it is hard to know what you have. You might have the answer you are looking for but just cannot see it. I am sure your journal helped keep you organized.

I think you distill all of the information that you have down to useful knowledge and you test that knowledge over time to judge it worthy or not to keep.

    September 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Great points Mark! What you say about discerning whether information is right or not is so very important. And, learning from others – regardless of how we feel about them personally – is another important point. What helped me discern good from bad information was knowing myself and my situation well plus a lot of trial and error when it came to my health situation. Even more importantly, I prayed a lot about my situation, and God gave me the necessary discernment to see the right information. So, studying His truth and being grounded in that is another absolute key in finding and applying knowledge.

September 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm

I like your point about persistence and also about knowledge coming from unexpected sources. I've found both to be true in my case. Just the random words that friends say to me sometimes amaze me in their timeliness and insight.

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