Friday, June 8, 2012
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My teenage son was learning to drive. He had completed the classroom portion of Driver Ed. and he was very interested in getting some "behind-the-wheel" experience.
One afternoon he wanted to shoot baskets in the driveway behind our house, and he said, "Dad, would you move the car?" I said, "No, why don't you move it?" He stammered, and said, "Yeah, why don't you move it?" So I got in the car with him and I said, "Okay, what do you do first?" He said, "Put on your seat belt." I said, "Great! Okay." Well, we're only going 12 feet, but "Good. And then what?" He said, "Put it into gear." I said, "What do you do first?" He said, "Put it into gear." "What do you do first?" "Oh, put your foot on the brake. That's right." Well, we had a very interesting little maneuver going on there.
He did manage to back it up and kind of pull it up the driveway without taking out too many trees. Afterwards he said, "Well, Dad, classroom's one thing, but, you know, doing what they taught us? That's a little different. I mean, I know how to drive, but there's going to be a big difference between classroom and behind-the-wheel isn't there?" Yeah. Uh-huh. Of course, classroom has no purpose unless you do put it to work behind the wheel. I mean, it's easy to learn a theory; the challenge is to use it on the road.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "It Isn't Real Until It's Behind the Wheel."
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from Joshua 1:8. God's instructions go like this, "Do not let this book of the law" (which is the Bible you have right there in your hand or on your shelf). "Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth. Meditate on it day and night..." Okay, that sounds like classroom doesn't it - learning to drive? "...so that you may be careful to do everything written in it." Okay, so what's the purpose of meditating on it? What's the purpose of not letting it depart from your mouth? Using it on the road! "So you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful," it says.
See, knowing the Bible, studying the Bible - that's good, it's just not an end in itself. It's a means to an end. You're supposed to know it so you'll do it. It's like driver education. It isn't enough to know the facts. You miss the point unless you immediately put it into practice. Be careful to do what you just were thinking about and reading about. The tendency, of course, is to do what's easy; learn the verses, study the Bible, debate the theology. You could be in seminary debating all the great theological issues, heavy into the Bible, biblical truths, theology, and be spiritually dried up because you're not doing anything with it. You're not driving.
You see your mission when you're reading the Bible isn't just to eat spiritually. It's to digest it; to get it into your system, to draw strength from it. So, whenever you're reading a verse about temptation let's say, you should say, "Well, now what temptation am I facing today?" And you immediately apply that verse to that temptation. When you're reading about trials in your life, you say, "What trial am I facing right now?" And you apply it to that trial that day.
When the Bible says, "Don't let sin control your body," you ask, "What sin has been controlling me too much lately?" And you fight that sin that day with that scripture. There's no risk in learning what God wants. Just like there's no risk in learning how to drive. It's a little scary to go out on a limb and live that day risking that day on that truth, but see, that's how you build spiritual muscle. On any given day we ought to be able to stop each other and say, "Hey, what are you doing today because of what you read this morning? What are you doing differently because of what God told you?"
You know, there's a false sense of spiritual well-being in going to Bible studies, and mastering theology, and getting biblically smart, because you could be dying inside. The question is, "What are you doing?" See, if you're not doing it, you're dying. That's why Jesus said, "Why do you call Me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?"
You notice God didn't say to Joshua, "Meditate therein so you'll be careful to know." He said, "...be careful to do." So, connect your intake to specific obedient action that day. Don't be fooled into thinking that knowing is growing. Don't just hear it in the classroom. Risk it on the road, because it isn't real until its behind the wheel.