Concealing knowledge

water-165219_640Proverbs 12:23: A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims folly.

You should be careful about what you say and to whom you say it. And there are times to conceal what you know. Wisdom dictates that the audience and result you want to get will dictate what you say. Because knowledge puffs up, those who know should mellow the knowledge with a large dose of humility (1Corinthians 8:1).

Note that it is not in every forum that what you know is appreciated, or the people will be willing to listen to you. Why not conserve your energy till you have the audience that what you know can really serve?

At a time in the ministry of Paul, he decided that he was not going to waste his time preaching to the Jews, but would to the gentiles who were ready to receive his message (Acts 18:6).

Jesus did not reveal much of his healing power in his home town because he was up against a brick wall of unbelief. It was Jesus who said: do not cast your pearls before swine, they’ll not only trample on it, they will attack you afterwards (Matthew 7:6).

Jesus knew he was the messiah but he was mostly quiet about it. When Peter said to him: you are the Christ, the son of the living God (Matthew 16:13-17); He was surprised, and said: flesh and blood has not revealed this to you but my father in heaven. It was not something he was goes about telling everybody. It was counter to the plan of God for him.

He told the disciples that there are many things he wanted them to know, but they do not have the capacity to receive them at that time (John 16:12-14), hence he promised them the Holy Spirit. They need the Holy Spirit to help them come to the correct understanding of things. They need the Holy Spirit to enhance their capacity to understand. If Jesus tried to tell them deeper things prior to the coming of the Holy Spirit, whatever he says will fall like water on the back of a duck. It only made sense that Jesus hid some information from them; otherwise it would be a waste of their time, and Jesus’ too.

So if you are mentoring others, do not be in a hurry to share all you know, they may need to develop their spiritual capacity before they can fully lay hold of it.

Basic level discipleship is about establishing the disciple in things which has to do with the expansion of spiritual capacity: fasting, bible reading/study, reading Christian books, communicating the gospel. The intermediate level is training in purpose; the discovery and God’s purpose and training in the direction of it. Advanced discipleship has to do with walking in the purpose.

A mentor can meet people at any of the three levels of disciple development. You don’t want to be putting people through advanced level discipleship when the basic issues of developing spiritual capacity and enhanced personal walk with God are not in order. You don’t want to try to mentor someone in discovering purpose when what they need is to be mentored in walking in the purpose they have discovered, meaning they are at the advanced level.

Also, there are mentors who are best with helping mentees at a particular level, and bad at others, or even clueless. Recognising that, as a mentee, you will not over-expect tings from a mentor. Mentors have limitation. That is why you will need different mentors at different times and probably a few mentors at a time.

God revealed some things to John (Revelation 10:4) and gave him strict instruction not to document them. It was for his personal consumption. He was to conceal some things he knew. Many people have speculated what those things are, but they remain speculation, at the other side of time, those of us who get to spend eternity with God, will get to know them.

I don’t care if your calling is that of a double apostle, do not say some things you proclaim are what John concealed, in an attempt to add more legitimacy to what you perceive God was releasing through you.

There is a time to declare what you know and there is a time to not open your mouth. Jesus knew this, he rebuked the Pharisees (Luke 11:38-54), but when the time of his death came, he was like a lamb before the shearer, saying nothing (Acts 8:32), not offering a defence of himself. To him, speaking or not, what he says or does not, were based on what the father permitted (John 12:49). So, we need help to know what to say, where to say them, how to say them, and to whom.

When God deals with us he conceals knowledge. Abraham’s story is a case in point. God told him to leave his father’s house to a land he will show him (Genesis 12:1-4). At the start of the journey he did not know where he was going, but he began to be established as a man of faith, when he obeyed. So God, by not telling us everything, trains us in the walk of faith.

To be prudent is to know what is appropriate per time. It is to be an accurate judge of situations. When Jesus was asked a question through which the Pharisees wanted to trap him, he was able to recognise their hidden intention and answered them with words that shut them up (Matthew 22:15-22).

His relationships are compartmentalised, on a need-to-know basis, based on the level information he shares with each about himself. There are his family members, the crowd, the Pharisee, disciples, 12 apostles, and 3 core apostles.

He does not waste his time with his family members who did not believe in him. He did not try to convince them about his calling, about who he was. There was a day that they mocked him: won’t you go to the feast and show yourself to the people, so that you can really become famous (John 7:1-8)? (Or maybe they thought his being famous would rub off on them). But he did not respond by trying to upgrade their understanding of him. He did not attempt to make them like him.

Relating to the core group of his apostles, which included Peter John and James, showed them what he did not show others telling them not tell anyone about it. He took them where he did not take any other (Matthew 17:1-9). He was prudent in managing his relationship. He shared some parable in the public, which he gives the interpretation to the apostles.

It was obvious that Peter was close to Jesus. But he almost abused the relationship by rebuking him, saying that he should forget about dying (Matthew 16:21-23). But he told Peter: get behind me Satan! That means those closest to him did not really understand him. And like any friend would, Peter told the Jesus to take the easy way out.

You need to understanding that whatever happened to Jesus would impact Peter, Jesus’ dying will devastate him. So Peter may be thinking about himself when he told Jesus to abandon the plan of dying.

In the same way, a lot of times, those who give you certain advice do so for their own selfish reasons. They think of how what you do, the choices you make, will impact on them. They want to use their closeness with you to manipulate you, to their own end. Jesus told Peter you are after the things of men not the things of God. He wanted to have what he feels swallow up the purpose of God for Jesus. What he does not know was more than what he does. so with all of us. Hence the call to live by faith (Hebrews 10:38).

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