"He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Always Learning, Never Arriving

2 Timothy 3:1-7
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Long ago as I thought about this passage I was greatly convicted about that final verse. It had my spiritual wheels turning, and lately I've been coming back to a realization of the truth of the statement here.

Christians like me are really good at learning things. We read our Bibles every single day, we go to church every Sunday, we ask deep questions, and we read good books; and we may even pray from time to time. All of these are critical to the growth of a believer. They are essentials, and learning is a necessity for every child of God. But it is not an end in itself.

A drug addict can learn that what he does is wrong and still be hooked. A cutter may discover that God does not delight in self-destruction and still be a cutter. A prostitute may be taught that it is wrong to use the human body for immoral purposes and still continue in her sin. A porn addict may know that adultery is wrong and still be a porn addict. A drunkard may see that drunkenness is dissipation and still be a drunkard. A hedonist may know that his pleasures will never be satisfied until he places them in God and still be a worldly hedonist.

And all of these kinds of people, regardless of specifics, may truly and sincerely desire to be free from their sins and yet continue in them. Many people go to hell that way.

I do not want to be the next tragic story in the line of fallen people.

What God is teaching me now is this: yes, I may have been learning for the past five years that His followers are to make disciples, but if all I do is learn and take no action I would be better off not knowing. I may know full well by now that the greatest commandments are to love God and to love my neighbor as myself - but if I do not love God and do not love my neighbor as myself my learning is in vain.

You can preach all you want. You can sit and listen all day. But do not be deceived into thinking that we can sit around learning all day and do nothing with the tools we are given. The Bible was not written only to be memorized - it was written to be obeyed.

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