You’ve got a need-to-know spirit.
I heard this once or a thousand times from the staff at Pure Life. Any time someone was found desiring to know something they had no business knowing, looking around trying to pick up conversation others were having, asking “Who are you talking about?” to anyone, etc., they were told they have a need-to-know spirit.
To the average person that might sound like making a big deal out of nothing, but to the addict it will make a lot of sense. The addict knows all-to-well the urge from deep within to know more than they really ought to know, to experience something or someone they have no business experiencing, to find what lies just beyond the next pill, hit, bottle, hookup, website, etc., etc. Addicts have a thirst to know stuff, and to be known by stuff.
Just the wrong stuff.
Our desire to know more than we ought has been with us from the beginning. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that God forbid our first parents to eat from (Gen. 2:17), and it was the prospect of knowing that enticed them both to grasp beyond that which God prescribed. Since then we have been consumed with an insatiable appetite to know and be known, partaking of anything forbidden in order that we might be like God. That we might know.
You have a need-to-know spirit.
The writer of Ecclesiastes realized the vanity of such a life near the end of his own. The wise man who would not deny himself from knowing anything his eyes desired (Ecc. 2:10) finally came to know something we are learning today:
For in much wisdom is much vexation,
and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow (Ecc. 1:18)
We live in an age today where we know more stuff than at any other time in history. At my fingertips on this laptop is a world of knowledge, anything my heart desires. And yet, is it not true that the more we know, as the preacher of Ecclesiastes states, the more sorrowful we become? A recent study done by the University of Michigan concluded that the more people use Facebook, the less happy they are. They found that the more people knew about what other people were doing, the less satisfied they were with their own lives.
Our desire to know can cause us to be anything from being dissatisfied with life to being addicted to pornography. This is why the staff at Pure Life were intent upon squashing the need-to-know spirit in all of us.
How can you squash it in yourself? Apart from having someone in your life who will call you on it every time it rises up, you can do this:
- Name it. Recognizing that this spirit exists in you, and that it works against God’s desire for you. Confess your pride of life and repent.
- Pray for humility. It is a prideful heart which thinks it deserves to know more than it ought. Seek ways to purposefully humble yourself. Ask God to provide them. He will!
- Two books I highly recommend are Andrew Murray’s Humility: The Journey Toward Holiness and Irresistible to God by Steve Gallagher. Both will help you better understand the nature and workings of pride and the beauty and freedom of humility, which is a gift from God.
- And finally, and most importantly, direct your thirst for knowledge God-ward. Commit yourself to chunks of time each day to gorge on God’s word. Spend time talking with God each and every day. Get to know God. Pray to know, and be known, by Him and Him alone.
We all have a need-to-know spirit. But by God’s grace, we can overcome it. I pray that this is as helpful for you as much as it is for me, and that together we can halt our grasping of that which we have no business knowing.