MYTH #3: Christians Grow in Maturity by Knowing More About the Bible.
I doubt God will one day say to me: 'Congratulations on your factual knowledge of the Bible. You scored in the 98th percentile on the written portion of Heaven's entrance exam.' What I'm going to hear -- what I'd really, really like to hear -- is, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' The myth about growing in maturity simply because we know more about the Bible: busted -- big time!"
I sooooo have to agree! The older I get and the longer I walk with Christ the more I see that maturity is directly linked with doing what the Bible says and not simply knowing what the Bible says -- or even teaching what the Bible says! And that's a hard one to swallow as a preacher who goes into a classroom and pulpit nearly every Sunday (and many Wednesday's and other times of the week as well -- and has for nearly 26 years!) to disseminate biblical instruction to the flock -- biblical knowledge.
Yet, if I or my flock does not then take the information and knowledge given and put it into practice -- if all I or they do is study and listen and learn and gain more information to store it away in the "biblical knowledge file" of our brains -- it has done little or nothing to mature us. In reality, information only really becomes internalized in us as it is put into action on a regular basis. We grow and mature as we do.
"Jesus told us to evangelize our neighbor. Right? Of course he did. Well, not exactly. He did tell his disciples and by extension us, to love our neighbor, serve our neighbor, help the poor, heal the sick, cast out demons, raise the dead, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile and, yes, he did tell us to preach the Good News of the Kingdom. Sooooo... isn't preaching the God News of the Kingdom the same thing as evangelizing? It is, except for the part where it isn't... at least not by our current definitions of evangelism.
There it is again. Obeying. Doing. Putting the truth into practice. For if we are not encouraging people to obey what Jesus said (which ifs far different from simply learning what Jesus said) then we are not doing what the Great Commission calls us to do!
Steve's thoughts were a challange to me. In fact, I was up from 3:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. repenting and praying and pledging to do (and not be content simply to know) what the Bible says. Maybe its time for you to pray the same. In His Service, Pastor Jeff