Some time back a brother waffled on his commitment to the Lord. I learned about it and sent him messages to encourage him. Along the way, I sent him a message when I received a return message like “I know the Scripture also, Ron.” As I reflected on that, and doing it again now, I am reminded that knowing the scripture does not always translate into obeying the Scripture. Why is that? It’s a matter of one’s will to put knowledge into action.
Gaining knowledge is only a part of one’s spiritual growth. Another part of one’s spiritual growth is obeying from the heart that which was learned. James puts it this way, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deluding your own selves (1:22, ASV). It’s been said that when one lies to another trust is gone. What happens when one lies to himself?
The gaining of knowledge is much easier than putting into practice that which is gained. Why do young people go to college to learn something of interest, something that has no marketable or practical value, and become surprised they are unable to find work to complement their college degree? They do so because they see college much differently in their youth than they will when they are much older. Many young people see the Bible in a way similar to how they see college; it’s valuable, but not life changing. Sadly, older people have failed to learn lessons to avoid this pitfall.
Why is this the case? I suppose there are a number of reasons one could offer. First, in part, the habits of today are not easily changed tomorrow. As you reflect on that, there is nothing profound about such an observation. You’ve not only seen it, but, if you’re normal, you experienced it. This is related, second, to stubbornness. When a person is “preaching” to you about your bad habits, you may initially give an ear, but if it continues, then the ears turn deaf, and the heels dig in. You not only tire of hearing from them, but you also begin to turn away from them.
Just as bad habits and stubbornness become obstacles, these are perfect contributors for a third reason: weakness, that is spiritual weakness. Perhaps you can include other kinds of weaknesses, but spiritual weakness is what I have in mind. How does one become spiritually weak? Well, as stated, there is a failure to apply what was learned; but also when they don’t allow that which is learned to take root.
For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But solid food is for fullgrown men, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern good and evil (Heb. 5:12-14).
What is the Holy Spirit saying here? He is saying that at a certain point, one should allow the Word of God to take root to such a degree that he (or she) becomes a teacher of the Lord’s word. The Hebrews’ writer said they were not because they allowed other things to get in the way – whatever they were. Do you?
Lack of knowledge is more than just an academic matter; it is also an experience matter. That which you learn be sure to put into day-to-day use. Don’t graduate from a college with a degree of no real, practical value, and then work at an entry-level job. Don’t read the Bible and stay drinking only milk. RT