To Know And To Do

March 29, 2013

To Know and to Do

“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.   But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward.“  (Jeremiah 7:23-24).

What would you think if a young medical student completed all his medical studies and even took and passed his entrance exam, but he never practiced medicine?  What do you think about someone who continues studying for one career after another one, but never practices any?  It would be unfortunate, but that’s the way it is with some who say they are Christians.  It isn’t that they are ignorant about what they should do.  They just aren’t motivated to do what they know they should do.

Sometimes, when the Bible says that people didn’t hear God’s voice, it just means they didn’t put into practice what they heard.  Verse 24 says they “harkened not, nor inclined their ear.” They went on walking in their evil ways.  They didn’t take heed to God’s counsels.  The result was that they went backward instead of forward.  In verse 23 God commanded them to listen because he knew it would be for their good.

We have a great lack of Christian leaders in our day.  It’s because many young men aren’t willing to put into practice what they have been taught.  It may be that they aren’t hardened sinners, but if they are controlled by selfishness, pride, or laziness, they will not be servants of God.  There are people who obviously have spiritual gifts, mental capacity, and spiritual knowledge, but because of one or more of these defects, they aren’t doing anything for God.  I have known some men who have everything they need to serve God, but they lacked one thing, that was a wife who was willing to serve with them and be a good testimony.

If a man is going to be a leader, he must first of all be one in his own home.  I Timothy 3:4-5 says that a bishop, or a pastor must be “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;   (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” Most often it’s not because of a lack of understanding, but negligence in doing what he knows he should do.

Negligence in doing what we know we should do is because we are comfortable in our life style and have no desire to change.  Few are willing to pray like David did in Psalm 139:23-24.  “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:   And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” It appears as though most Christians try to stay within the limits of what is acceptable so as not to be criticized.

Our negligence in doing is a reflection of a spiritual problem. How few there are who are willing to say, “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).  “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).  Those who have a close relationship with God can’t be content with a life style that doesn’t please God.  Their desire is to be victorious over sin and whatever keeps them from being used of God.

“To do” demands more of us than “to know”.  To sit in the bleachers and watch an athletic event doesn’t demand near as much of us as to be on the field playing the game.  To sit in a class doesn’t demand near as much of us as to be up front teaching the class.  We need to be in church listening to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.  When we go out the door of the church we enter the mission field where we put into practice what we have learned.

In Proverbs 23:26 God says “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.” It’s difficult to do what we know we should do if our heart isn’t in it.  The purpose of this article isn’t just to exhort you to be obedient.  Where there is love there may still be sacrifice, but it is greatly diminished.  Jesus said in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” If you are struggling with the doing, you need to pray with David “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me”  (Psalm 51:10).


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