Information is not Transformation.
We live in a world of information overload; never before have humans had such access to information. Yet it is obvious that information alone does not transform the human character. We can know a lot but sometimes what we know to do and what we do do are poles apart. For example there is a mountain of information about diet and healthy lifestyle choices and if you are like me, you have read much of it; you have the information! But if information was all that was needed, the number of people who struggle with excess weight and health issues would dramatically decrease. I absolutely salute those who take the information and through dedication, self control and self denial achieve physical transformation.
Something similar happens in the spiritual nature. As a professing Christian I often remark that if I knew nothing more but could always do that which I already know to do, then I would be more useful to God; I would be being transformed. I am not alone here. The Apostle Paul wrote something similar in Romans 7:19.
For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing. NIV.
Church pews are full of people who have sat in them for decades, they are informed; they know the doctrine, the ritual, the right words and the right morality, but transformed? That is the work of the Holy Spirit and we have to let go of ourselves to let God, The Word, do its job. It is a scary business to put your ego to death, to deny yourself, to know that you will suffer. I love the way Richard Rohr puts it his book (see below). It is not that we have a message and suffer for it. It is much more the opposite: We suffer, come through it transformed and then we have a message!… As Paul makes clear in his letters, transformation is a journey, the law can give correct information but only God’s Spirit of Love can transform.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12 :2
Information and knowledge are necessary but we cannot stop there. God is all about transformation. And the world so desperately needs transformed not conformed people.