Thinking and Doing - Week of November 29th

By Judy Nichols

November 29, 2015

I remember a time in my life when doing, added to thinking, made a huge difference. Always a shy, introverted person, I’d only been working at my job a few weeks when a bridal shower for a co-worker was coming up. They invited me to come, even though I barely knew any of them, even saying I needn’t bring a present. I dreaded the awkwardness I’ve always felt in unfamiliar social situations, and bridal showers with their silly games are the ultimate in bungling affairs. But I decided I would go anyway. They were reaching out to me and I thought I should make the effort to reach back. I thought I could do it, but if I hadn’t gone, I would never have known for sure. It was the doing that changed me.

Romans 12:2 tells us, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." I’m no Greek scholar, but my study Bible tells me that the word for testing is the same one Jesus used in the parable of the great banquet, when the man who had just bought five yoke of oxen declined the invitation because he wanted to try them out (see Luke 14:19).

I would never diminish the role the Scriptures have in transforming us. There is no substitute for regularly reading or hearing the Word of God, reflecting upon it, absorbing it, and believing it. It will change us. But transformation doesn’t stop with thinking differently; it extends to acting differently. If we never try out what we are learning to believe, our transformation will never be complete. We will never know for sure that God has the power to make us new.

The Apostle James also talks about being doers of the word and not merely hearers. He says those who only hear but do not do the word are like people who look at themselves in the mirror and then forget what they look like.

When I look at myself in the mirror in the morning, I see the age spots and the little whisker-like hairs that are beginning to grow out of my chin. Do I leave them alone, or do something about them? While I am trying to grow older gracefully, I still want to look my best, so I use make-up on my dark spots and snip off the little whiskers. In the same way, when I look at who the Scriptures say I am and compare it with who I presently am, I am moved to take action.

If Scripture describes me as one who loves others as herself, should I not at least attempt to do so to see what happens and if it’s possible to become that person? James says looking into the law of liberty – the gospel that sets us free – and persevering in putting it into action will make us be blessed (James 1:25). If thinking differently does not lead to living differently, we are deceived. I would rather be blessed. Wouldn’t you?

© Judy Nichols 2015

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