When “Right On” goes Wrong

February 24, 2008

We are overwhelmed by information from friends, TV, radio, magazines, and the internet. The same is true in the church – truth hits us from scripture, radio, books, sermons, and (hopefully) this blog. With all this information comes a subtle danger. In our fast paced world, it is increasingly easy to simply nod and move on.

In an email exchange between worship leader Bob Kauflin and professor Harold Best, Dr. Best commended Bob for his articles on worship. His encouragement came with a sobering afterword. “I certainly hope your readers think through the things you say instead of simply saying, ‘right on – I agree,’ and then, because they agree, continue to do what they have already been doing. One of the toughest things in our sojourn is to be sure that we translate ideas into action instead of allowing the action of agreeing with them to substitute for substantive action itself.”

Read that again.

“I certainly hope your readers think through the things you say instead of simply saying, ‘right on – I agree,’ and then, because they agree, continue to do what they have already been doing. One of the toughest things in our sojourn is to be sure that we translate ideas into action instead of allowing the action of agreeing with them to substitute for substantive action itself.”

Do you feel the familiarity with this struggle? You hear or read something, you judge it as good or bad, congratulate yourself for your discernment, and move on. Next! This is so easy to do. We amass information and evaluation as if forming an opinion of a truth is the same as applying the truth. This is not far from thinking that merely having a particular book on your bookshelf (or nightstand) will impute its particular knowledge without you actually breaching the cover. No, we must allow truth to confront us!

Consider the way we listen to sermons. You may listen carefully, find no fault in the message, learn a little something you did not know before, and walk away nodding. If that is the end of your encounter with the truth, you have missed the opportunity to allow the truth to translate into action. Two or three days from now, it will be as if that message never existed. This could be said for books, lessons, and probably this website.

God has called us to do much more than simply agree with truth. 1 John 1:6-8 uses active illustrations to explain how we interact with truth. We are to PRACTICE the truth, rehearsing it in our mind and working it out into our lives. We are to WALK in truth (light), letting it direct our steps and inform our decisions rather than merely being aware of it. The truth is to be IN us, not flying by us.

Is this an area of weakness in your life like it is in mine? Pray that the Spirit of God will continue to teach you His truth, and that you will embrace the role as student. Allow truth to confront your life, avoid the temptation to be a lowly fact-checker, and find joy in allowing truth to transform your life. In an upcoming post, we’ll look at some practical ways to turn truth into application.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: