The Partial Bliss of Ignorance

         Everyone acts upon what they know. People generally make choices based on an illusion of complete knowledge. Until one learns something new they act as if they know everything, or at least everything they need to know about a given subject.

         Few people consider the fact that their current choices and actions are based not on a pure perspective, but on incomplete knowledge. The decisions we all make at any given time are therefore almost always suspect.

         Our choices are imperfect but we don’t see this at the time.

         Accordingly, our lives are built on incomplete data. How can such a structure make for a strong and secure foundation? The reason hindsight is always 20-20 is because foresight almost never is, though we often think it is at the time of decision making.

         How many times must we say, “If only I had known…”

         Consequently, it is usually the case that people make choices based more on what they want, even though they may attempt to make a studied and informed decision.

         This means, of course, that it is desire that drives us. Such choices based on personal desire are relatively easy and simple. Of such are the choices of a child, including children of the adult variety.

         But how can we possibly choose by including information we do not have? And how do we know we do not have it? What if we discover something the day after our decision is made that would otherwise affect our choice? (“Well, if I knew that, I never would have done what I did…”)

         In time, some people get wiser. They don’t want to get burned again. They do not want to have to deal with the consequences of what turned out to be a stupid choice. So they become more careful. They learn about possible pitfalls. They develop a feel that goes into the mix of the decision-making process. Sometimes the feelings are based on truth.

         But more often than not, these feelings are based on fear:

         “The last time I went into the surf I stepped on a stingray/got nicked by a shark/got sucked into an undertow/got all stung-up by jellyfish.”

         Yet, sometimes a person decides to never step foot in the ocean due only to perceived fears, no doubt based on someone’s fear-based advice. Until he eliminates such fear, his choices will always be suspect.

         And he will never enjoy the thrill of the surf.

         Though making correct choices must be learned empirically through experience, we cannot allow perceived judgments to cloud the outcome. We cannot treat a new circumstance exactly as the old circumstance, because conditions are always different.

         This is why life is not formulaic—it is because God is not formulaic.

         Therefore, sinful man apart from God always tries to create a safe world and eliminate all risk. This is not living by faith, and as such can in no way be pleasing to God.

         And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. [Hebrews 11:6]

         The more one attempts to eliminate risk, be ready for any bad scenario, have an answer for anything life may throw one’s way, cover all the bases, and prepare in detail for all things possible, the more one will actually open the door for disaster. If one feels he is covered no matter what may happen, one will unconsciously let one’s guard down, relax in a false security, and eventually get creamed with catastrophe.

         Why? It is obvious that such a person not only prepares for disaster but expects it, or else he would not put so much effort in the preparation. He is not preparing to avoid disaster or eliminate it, but building a supposed safety net to deal with it when it happens.

         He does not know the future but is convinced he must make a wise investment in covering himself. But his assessment of possible bad scenarios is very limited and full of holes. It is impossible to prepare for anything. “Anything” is way too large. Inevitably, one will take a hit where he neglected to cover himself with armor, in that the chink in his armor was previously unknown until his opponent’s sword found it.

         Living by faith in the Lord Jesus, however, actually does cover one from any possible scenario. The difference is that one has no knowledge of the future but God does, and by faith, one trusts God for his protection.

         It is the only possible way to live a secure and peaceful life.

         Otherwise, one will trust in one’s ability, one’s money, one’s ability to earn money, in insurance of every possible kind, false doctrines and teachings that appear sound, and anything and everything except the Lord Jesus.

         Following the Lord does not mean everything will be perfect, though. It is sometimes the will of God that we endure tests, trials, adversity, and persecution. I mean, we are in a spiritual war, right?

         But we know by faith that the Lord will see us through the storm, and we can have the peace that passes all understanding in the midst of storms.  

         On the other hand, the illusion of complete knowledge apart from God is highly deceiving, and creates the very opposite of what one intended. The false sense of security that arises is the very thing that destroys one’s life.

         “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.” [Mark 8:35]

         It is a scary thing to reject God and choose to be one’s own boss apart from God, or follow another. It matters not how sensible one’s choices may be. It boils down to acts of pure pride, defiance, and rebellion. No faith equals spiritual death regardless of how many bases appear to be covered or sources accessed to make wise decisions.

         Not only that, but having no love for the truth of God’s Word will actually blind a person regarding it. The rejecting of living by pure faith and loving the Truth opens the doors of deception, and this deception will even come from the Lord Himself:

         For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12]

         It is said that ignorance is bliss. This is true in part, in that a lack of knowledge promotes a false security.

         But real bliss arises from pure faith in the Lord Jesus and obedience toward Him. It is the only way to cover all the bases. It is the cure for ignorance and blindness.

         And Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.”

         Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, “We are not blind too, are we?”

         Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, ‘We see,’ your sin remains.” [John 9:39-41] [1]

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

Posted on April 28, 2012, in Teaching and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. although i believe in God, i always will have room for plenty of improvement. thank u for sharing

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    • Thank you for your reply, Terry. It is without doubt a faith walk. We learn as we go. In time, of course, we grow ever closer to the Lord in love and understanding, and we see improvement taking place. He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. We are blessed by His favor and direction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent, thank for this Post.

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  3. I think with most things, probably all things, we need God to help us find that sometimes illusive balance. Can people prepare too much for whatever they think may come their way? Sure. But I think there is also a danger in testing God by not doing enough in any given situation.

    An extreme example would be strolling down a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night unarmed. Some might think that God will simply protect them, when in reality they are testing God to protect them. I think we need to do as much as we can in any given circumstance and have faith God will make up the difference.

    Good solid post as usual!

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    • Thanks, Alex. I agree. Checking wisdom at the door brings disaster the same way checking faith at the door does. I am reminded of the tests God applied when building Gideon’s army.

      Though we must live by faith and trust in God, we must also use wisdom and every other element the Lord has given us. Testing God violates His commandment. It is good to prepare as much as we can, but there are millions of real Christians in the world who simply cannot afford much, and must live at a higher level of faith. They cannot buy insurance, for example, though such is often a prudent investment. There are times when the Lord purposely removes our ability to buy various forms of protection in order to establish His own protection in our lives.

      There is a battle that goes on regarding obeying God and doing what almost everyone considers “the right thing.” People tried to talk the Lord out of going to Jerusalem and face His fate, for example. People tried to talk Paul out of going to Jerusalem, thinking he would surely come into great harm.

      At the end of the day, living for God is designed by God to be an adventure.

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  4. How true that people make decisions based on incomplete information. One of the reasons people reject Christ is because of prejudice, of hardened hearts, as exemplified by the Pharisees.

    Thank you for this post that feeds both mind and spirit!

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  5. Excellent post my friend. Always thought-provoking! Faith and trust. You have to have faith in order to trust, and you need to trust in order to increase your faith. To have understanding, you need to hear and pay attention. To ignore reality because you don’t like it is arrogant, and will cause our own damnation.

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  6. Thanks! Very good points. It seems living according to false realities has become an epidemic.

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