So you read yesterday’s post (CLICK HERE if you haven’t) and your now thinking about doing more than “reading” the Bible, but instead acting on what you’ve read. I congratulate you on taking it up a notch in your spiritual growth! What can you expect if you follow through? What are some ways things will be different?
1. First, doing something about what you read in the Bible shows conviction.
I love what James, the half-brother of Jesus said about faith. It’s a perfect example of this principle:
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” – James 2:18 ESV
James is making it clear that doing something is so much more important that talking about something. You can talk all you want about what you say you believe, but until you take action on it, that belief is never really demonstrated. It’s like the story of the tightrope walker who would cross back and forth between two buildings pushing a wheelbarrow. The crowds that watched cheered and applauded over and over again. At one point, he asked the crowd, “Raise your hand if you believe I could cross this tightrope with YOU in this wheelbarrow!” Everyone in the crowd screamed and quickly hundreds of hands shot into the air. Then he asked, “Who will get INTO the wheelbarrow?” And suddenly all of the hands went down. In reality, none of the crowd REALLY believed he could do it.
2. Second, doing something about what you read in the Bible will show areas of needed growth.
I recently started a push-up regimen. It sucks, but, that’s beside the point. I’m not overweight or out of shape. But I also don’t exercise much. Yesterday, the regimen I’m following called for a near tripling of the number of push ups I’m doing each day this week. I couldn’t do it. Now, before this, I didn’t have much trouble keeping up. But this week, there’s no way I’ll be able to do the required number of push ups. That means I’ll have to redo this week. This increase revealed an area of needed strengthening.
It’s the same way when we start taking action on the Bible. Areas where we thought things were fine will be exposed as areas of weakness. One area where I know a lot of people struggle is in tithing. Scripture is pretty clear on the principle. And many Christians don’t do it. When they do, this area will be tested. What is it testing? Our trust in the Father. It’s easy to say we trust Him, but harder to prove it by taking 10% of our income and giving it back to Him.
3. Third, doing something about what you read in the Bible reinforces the lesson learned.
This a pretty common-sense idea, but it’s important to remember. Remember the example I used yesterday about taking a screenshot on a Mac? Until I did it a few times, I had to check back online to remember the shortcuts. But after doing that 3 or 4 times, I remembered it without having to look it up.
It’s the same thing with obeying the Bible. After you’ve taken action on a principle a few times, continuing to do it won’t be as challenging. It will become part of who you are, not just what you say you believe.
4. Fourth, doing something about what you read in the Bible opens up new areas of learning.
In every area of life, we understand that learning is progressive. Before a child can effectively master multiplication and long division, it must understand how to add and subtract. Before that, the child must learn numbers. All learning is progressive.
It’s the same spiritually. God has no reason to reveal deeper truths to His children, if we aren’t fully obeying and acting upon the truths He’s already revealed to us. The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews put it this way:
So come on, let’s leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ. The basic foundational truths are in place: turning your back on “salvation by self-help” and turning in trust toward God; baptismal instructions; laying on of hands; resurrection of the dead; eternal judgment. God helping us, we’ll stay true to all that. But there’s so much more. Let’s get on with it! – Hebrews 6:1-3 The Message
If you feel like your spiritual growth has stunted, start acting upon the Truth that God has already given you – those preschool and elementary lessons – so that after mastering them you can begin learning the more advanced lessons He’s had planned for you all along.
Now, here’s where things start moving from theory into action: What are YOU going to start acting on?