by Jeff Beneze
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“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” (James 2:18 KJV)
Are you good at trivia? There is a version of trivia called Bible trivia that has been out for some time now. There are a lot of good questions in the set and the questions can draw out a lot of very good discussion. Let us say that you became really really good at knowing all the trivia answers so well that you could rattle them off like flash cards. Is that the end of the game? Does finding a church, a community group, a home group, or any other circle of discussion and life application become an increasing challenge because you now know more trivia answers than the rest of the group? In all our learning, have we missed the reason for learning the information? We do not seek to be full of information for the purpose of being full. We seek that information to be fully capable of implementing the cure. What good is a doctor that can verbally walk you through the million step process of heart surgery, without even looking at his note cards, that has never even scrubbed in? You can know baseball rankings, scores, salaries, names of players, and other statistics for twenty years back; but have you ever tried out for umpire school? How about funneling some of that knowledge and passion into being a little league coach? The point of obtaining knowledge is to take what you have learned and put some experience behind it.
In some respects, it is so sad. This individual differs greatly from the one described in my previous article Greater Than in that he was willing to work and denied employment. This individual lives in a world that is content to take your money to watch the game and the theatre. Accessory apparel is not only available, but put on display as a prize. While there is nothing wrong with entertainment, it takes a strong determination to become part of the action. Now you have to train muscles along with your mind. You have to make (and keep) commitments. You have to reconcile what you thought was going to happen with what actually did happen. You may even need a support group to pick you up when you fall. Love is like this too. It is one thing to know on paper what love is and is not a fruit of. It is another to practice patience, gentleness, and self control.
Have you ever thought about just leaving the group? If you have left a group for lack of intellectual food, then you have left not understanding how food is made. Be careful to not leave because the group is unmanageable or “not a good fit”. You may be surprised how much a good deal of surrender to the greater call of Christ will add to what is really needed. It is in the worst groups who understand the least of love that it takes the strongest in love to teach one another how to love. You do not gain additional muscle by bench pressing lighter weights! To know God is not simply to know of God. Knowing God involves listening, learning, practicing, failing, repenting, trying again, and trusting in Him more each day. It involves waiting and listening to see where in this process He has made a job for you combined with the obedience to go the instant He calls your name. Your work never substitutes for your faith, but rather reveals if it was ever there. The best professors are usually the ones who where able to combine knowledge with practice. If there seems to be no place for a person of your intellect in the group; ask around. You may learn something from the response. There is always more work to be done.
“And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:23 KJV)
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