Convenient Confusion

what-to-do-3-1239436-1598x1065Whey my boys were younger, they were quick to say, “I’m sorry” when they messed up. Sometimes, they said it for the millionth time about the same mistake. When this happened, my response sounded something like…

“I know you’re sorry, and I forgive you. I will always forgive you. But being sorry really means little for you if you do nothing to change your behavior.”

Now that my boys are teenagers, I still expect them to repeat mistakes from time to time in some areas, but I also realize progress should exist. They love Jesus, but they’re certainly in training still in so many ways. I have to constantly keep telling myself…

“Progress over perfection.”

Unfortunately, many adults act much like teenagers at times, though there should be marked maturity well beyond that found in most teenagers. These adults live in convenient confusion and believe saying “I’m sorry” stands on its own without being followed by a changed life.

I’m certainly guilty. I’ve relied on my words to carry me a bit much too at times. Yes, I too have been conveniently confused, thinking that filling my life with learning and knowing stuff somehow means trusting Christ. The truth is, though, trusting Christ really means doing what He says. It means following His directions and not pretending to be confused over what God’s Word says.

James addresses this very topic in James 1:22-25.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it — not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it — they will be blessed in what they do.”

Let’s consider these truths from a few other perspectives:

“No man is better for knowing that God, in the beginning, created the heavens and the earth. The devil knows that and so did Ahab and Judas Iscariot. Nobody is better for knowing that God so loved the world of men that He gave His only begotten Son to die for their redemption. In hell, there are millions who know that. Theological truth is useless until it is obeyed. The purpose behind all doctrine is to secure moral action.” (A.W. Tozer)

”It is not enough to hear the Word; we must do it. Many people have the mistaken idea that hearing a good sermon or Bible study is what makes them grow and get God’s blessing. It is not the hearing but the doing that brings the blessing. Too many Christians mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them! If you think you are spiritual because you hear the Word, then you are only kidding yourself.” (Warren Wiersbe)

“It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts I do understand.” (Mark Twain)

Consider the following questions for self-evaluation to know where convenient confusion might be plaguing you.

  • What am I hearing from God and not putting into action?
  • How might I be sinning by pretending to be confused?
  • Have I stopped listening to Him in some area because I know I’m not obeying?

As you consider these answers, actively look for ways to move from being a hearer only to also being a consistent doer. What might some of those ways be for you?

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17 thoughts on “Convenient Confusion

  1. I think in order to be a doer we have to pursue specific truth to fight the lies that are fueling our bad behavior. I would love to see that changed in the church. I think the emphasis is far more on just filling ourselves with knowledge rather than filling ourselves with the power of God's Word for the purpose of transformation so we can love Him and others better.

    • You hit on the key focus & purpose: Love Him and others better. After all, those are the two greatest commandments, right? My goal right now is to encourage and inspire others in my church to apply what they learn on Sundays, even if it's just a small step. We have to move beyond thinking going to church is enough. Pursue truth and then apply it.

  2. Knowledge for knowledge sake is not worth much. It is about what we do. I guess when we read something in God's word one of the first questions we should ask is "what should I consider doing in response to this" and as second question could be "do I need to develop a habit that supports what this is teaching me to do?".

  3. Kari, I love the quotes you shared! so true…for all of us, no matter how much "church" training we have. Great questions to think on. thanks for sharing! Shared this on my FB page.

  4. "If you love me, keep my commands."–Jesus (John 14:15). That verse challenges me in a spectacular way. It moves love from a touchy feely mystical thing to the practical act of simple obedience. How do I do that? Usually after some difficulty (trouble usually moves me in the right direction).

    • A difficulty or trouble of some sort certainly can serve to realign us, can't it? I like that verse too. Being motivated to obedience out of love… simply to please Him. We can get our hearts around that.

  5. It's easy for me to point the finger at others and notice their lack of repentance. But then I think about how many times I really do the same thing. Really, truly changing is tough work – and it's a work of God.

    • I wrote something a while back about serial killers that gets at your point, the idea that we project and magnify. Not only do I tend to notice it in others, I magnify it too. Makes my issue not seem so bad. Changing is really tough work, especially if we try to do it on our own. We do have our parts to play, and the do seem rather large and important at times. But when you put them up against what God does in and through us, they sure do pale in comparison. Very humbling to consider.

  6. Great questions.
    lately I’ve been feeling guilty over not making progress in a certain area of my life. this has lead to discouragement and guilt. thankfully God has been showing me His love and grace and encouraging me to keep going.
    thanks for this great post.

  7. Great point made to your boys Kari. Sort of the way I feel about God and what He says to me. 🙂 I also need to take stock upon occasion. Actually have been doing a little of that lately.
    My recent post HOT

  8. Good encouragement here. I have this conversation almost daily with my 9 year old, but I do recognize it in myself as well. I'll never forget a phrase I read years ago in a blog post (and I can't even tell you where I saw it), but the crux of it was that the Western church is "educated beyond her obedience." That resonated so deeply because often we value our knowledge of theology over the practical living application of these truths. It's a process, but I want the living application! Thanks Kari.
    My recent post Don’t Be Realistic

    • That is a great quote, Jason, and it makes me think of many who are not educated but who are passionate for Christ. Think of the disciples for that matter. Like the internet, education can be a good or bad thing. It's definitely a process, and I'm definitely with you in wanting living application.

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