I was recently attending a conference where I heard Bill Hybels say something that resonated deeply with me. He said that there comes a time when “we must move from inspiration to implementation.” We have more learning tools available to us than any other generation in history. Answers to virtually any question are just a few clicks away on the internet. The abundance of courses available through traditional, online, audio, and self-study courses is truly astounding. Lack of knowledge is no longer a viable excuse for a lack of action.
With all this learning, however, comes the responsibility to actually put that learning into action. What good is it if I learn how to build water filtration systems and never use that knowledge to provide clean drinking water for those in the world who are dying from drinking filthy and parasite ridden water? What good is it if I spend years studying the Bible and can spout scholarly wisdom regarding any passage if I do not share the good news of Jesus Christ with my next door neighbor? What good is it if I know the way I should behave and live if I don’t apply that knowledge in a way that brings glory to our God and Creator?
I think we as a people have become very good at isolating ourselves within our knowledge. We spend most of our lives preparing for the work God created us to do without ever actually beginning to get it done. There’s always one more book to read, sermon to hear or conference to attend that will somehow better equip us to carry out the mission of Christ. Meanwhile the world waits and dies around us. While we soak in as much knowledge as we can before ever thinking of sharing it, the very ones who need the truth we know fade away, lost and forgotten for eternity.
We cannot live our lives ever learning and never doing. We are called to pursue God with all our heart, mind and strength, not just to learn about Him. As we read in the book of James, “Faith without action is dead” (James 2:17). The passage goes on to say in verse 20 that faith without works is useless. All of our knowledge is futile if we do not take what we know and put it into action. There comes a time when we have to stop only learning and start doing. As our knowledge increases, so should our action. Each day we should be spending at least as much time living out our faith as we do learning about and increasing it. It’s important that we get this balance right. As we grow in our knowledge of and faith in God, our actions should ramp up accordingly.
When all else fails, default to action over learning. Let me qualify that by saying that I am a strong proponent of studying and growing closer to God. However, when push comes to shove, we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and those are instruments of function, not form. When you willingly surrender yourself to be used by God, He can use you regardless of your level of knowledge. It is far more difficult to be useful to God when all you are willing to give is your knowledge. Until you come to the point where you are ready to get your hands dirty for the Gospel, the light of Christ will never be able to fully shine through you.
Keith Green once said that “This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls.” We have spent too long immersed in and fascinated by our learning. The tools at our disposal have become an ensnarement to activity. Let’s move beyond learning into a period of action; God will bless such movement. We know enough and it is time to act. As one body, let’s turn our inspiration into implementation and change the world for the glory of Christ.
Question: What holds you back from turning your knowledge into action?