I know how to do a lot of things. I know how to bake, do laundry, wash di–hold on. This is starting to sound like an online dating bio. “Hi, I’m Anna. June Cleaver of 2013.”
Nope, not what we’re going for. But still. I know how to drive. I know some stuff about literature and the mechanics of writing. I know a little bit about several different -ology courses, thanks to my core requirements freshman year. I know the basics of communicating in French (but please, don’t say the word “conjugate” around me – still too fresh). I know basic music theory and can apply some of it to a couple of instruments. I know how to take care of kids. I know a thing or two about the Bible.
See? I know at least a little bit about a good many things, and I’m guessing you do, too (Hey, you know how to read. There’s one).
How did I learn these things? I learned the home ec stuff from growing up in a home with a mom who does all of those things on a daily basis. I learned the college stuff from people who’ve spent years and years going to school so they have the right to be called professor.
And the Bible training? A combination of parents, teachers, and Sundays spent in a pew listening to a man who’s devoted his life to studying the Word.
Of all those things I know about, the Bible is my favorite. I’ll be the first to admit there is so very much I don’t know about the Bible – and there will always be things I don’t know. But I do know a couple of things: Like how God created the world and made us in His image. And how we’ve all sinned and turned away from our Creator. And how that same Creator created a way for us to be saved and return to a relationship with Him through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.
I know about the men and women who weren’t afraid to stand for what they believed. I know about the men and women who allowed the world to water down their beliefs until they stopped believing the Truth.
I know how followers of Christ are supposed to live, too. Like how we’re supposed to flee temptation, pursue righteousness, love our neighbors, and shine as lights in the darkness. I know we’re not supposed to conform to the patterns of this world or give the devil a foothold or dress immodestly (Yeah, I went there–things just got real).
I know the fruits of the Spirit and not one, but two songs to help me remember them, thanks to years of VBS and children’s musicals. (Sing it with me now: “Oooooh, the fruit of the Spirit’s not a watermelon!”)
I know we’re supposed to hide God’s Word in our hearts and meditate on it, but what good does all that knowledge do? What good does knowing I’m supposed to live a life that glorifies my Creator actually do if I’m not actively, you know, living a life that glorifies my Creator?
It’s like this: I call myself a writer. I say I want to be a novelist and share the stories God puts on my heart with the world. I know all about WIPs and MCs and CPs and plot diagrams. So let’s say I have this really great, really unique idea for a story. Seriously, it’s unlike any other story I’ve read in the young adult genre, and yet it’s totally relevant to today’s teens. I’ve mentally mapped out plot twists and hilarious jokes and emotional moments. I’ve figured out my characters, along with their strengths and weaknesses, and an ending that’ll change your life. Really, this story is good.
So where is this next best-seller? It’s in my head (remember, this is an analogy; I’m not claiming to have a thing of greatness floating around in my head). I know the story inside-out…but I’m the only one who knows it. No one else can see how important this story is; no one else even has proof that I’ve really even written the story.
My ultimate goal for this story is publication, but how can I possibly have my book published if I never actually tell the story? If I never actually do anything to get the story written down? See what I’m getting at?
It’s one thing to know God’s Word. It’s actually a great and necessary thing. But I’m afraid that far too often we slip into this notion that says as long as we know what’s right, we’re doing okay. As long as we’re saved, we don’t have to look all that different from the world.
There’s this disease we often fall victim to. It’s called casual Christianity. We believe Jesus died for our sins, we warm a pew every Sunday morning, and we even memorize popular Bible verses. But when we’re not singing catchy, feel-good worship songs at church, where is the evidence of our faith? Where is the proof of how our lives are different when we’re hanging out with friends on the weekends? When we’re unwinding in front of the TV? When we’re on social media?
If I call myself a writer, I actually have to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be). I have to take what I know and apply it to my life. Otherwise, my knowledge is pointless. Dead.
Check out this passage:
“For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.” – James 2:26
To continue the example: If I don’t actually write, I’m…not…a…writer.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts,he will be blessed in his doing.” – James 1:22-25 (ESV)
So if I think I have it all together in the know-what-the-Bible-says department, and yet I’m not actively living out what I know is true, I’m deceiving myself.
I know that works can’t save us. The Bible clearly says this:
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
Nothing we do on our own can save us; no amount of good deeds or Sunday School perfect attendance certificates. We’re saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Maybe I have faith that God is who He says He is, but am I really who I say I am? Do I really have a life-changing faith that can’t help but radiate Christ’s love? Do I really live with such abandon that my love for my Lord spills over onto everything I say and do?
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to just be a knower. I want to be a doer, too. I desperately want to know God and His Word, but I also want to live in such a way that when others look at me, they actually don’t see me at all, but rather Christ shining through me.
I want to be a doer of the Word. I want to show the world how real and wonderful a life as Christ’s servant really is.
In His love,