“Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes.”
Proverbs 19:2 (NLT)
Have you ever pursued something wholeheartedly without stopping first to ask yourself why you were engaged in that pursuit or what that thing really is? In Proverbs 19:2, Solomon tells us that if we don’t understand the things we are passionate about, we will end up making mistakes.
While it’s easy to think we understand the things we’re passionate about and know why we pursue them, and dismiss the idea that we might be blind believers, instead let’s consider how we might live out this idea of being enthusiastic without having knowledge.
First, we can make decisions based solely on our feelings. Consider people you dated or wanted to date. Or maybe you pursued a career without considering its future implications or made an expensive purchase without researching it or considering the cost? It is always important to balance our feelings with reason. Proverbs 25:28 describes the person who runs his life on emotions: “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls” (ESV). This description vividly warns us that the person who does not seek understanding and only follows feelings could be left with nothing.
But, instead when we seek knowledge and understanding we can live effective lives as described in 2 Peter 1:5-9:
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins” (ESV).
Second, we can make snap decisions out of impatience. We’ve heard the saying, “Good things come to those who wait.” These are hard words to live by because we want what we want right now, but they are godly words and can keep us from making mistakes. We can be grateful that the Lord is patient with us (2 Peter 3:9). When we’re anxious and feeling impatient, let’s think about Psalm 130:5: “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope” (ESV).
A third way we can be passionate about something without having knowledge about it is by “following the crowd.” We’ve heard the ideas that there is safety in numbers and everyone is doing it. When we follow man instead of God, we put ourselves in a dangerous place. Proverbs 14:12 warns us that the ways of man lead to death. Furthermore, we can be lead to follow false teaching because of our zeal and desire to justify the things we want: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,” (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).
We can be zealous for relationships, jobs, our theology, material items, and any ideology (political, social, scientific, etc.). However, it is important that we understand those things and why we are for them. Do you understand the reasons for your faith? Paul tells us, “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone” (Colossians 4:6, NLT). And Peter tells us, “Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15, NLT). It is important to understand what you believe well enough to share it with another.
Back away from being a blind believer and pursue knowledge in the things about which you are passionate!