I am someone who learns by doing. I discovered this about myself in high school when I was trying to master geometry. No matter how many times I listened to the teacher explain the Pythagorean Theorem, I never really understood it until I tried working the problems myself. That’s when the information I was hearing finally made sense to me.
However, it wasn't until I was in my mid-30's that I realized that this same learning style applied to my spiritual life as well, as I came to realize that I understood what God's Word was telling me so much more when I actually tried to live it out. It's not that I wasn’t getting any benefit from reading the Bible, because I was. Instead, it was more that what I was reading in the Bible became so much more real when I tried to live it out.
As I’ve pondered that over the years, it’s occurred to me that this “learning by doing” system was part of what God had in mind when He sent His Son to this earth. Here's what I mean: God didn’t just tell us to love others, and to be patient and kind and forgiving. He also sent His Son to be a living example of what that meant. Jesus came to this earth to live in the same human flesh we have, and in the same broken and sinful world we live in. And it’s in that same environment that He shows us how to love and care for each other. When He was talking to Samaritans and making them the heroes of stories, He showed us how to be nice to those we don't even like. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus showed us what obedience looks like. On the cross, He showed us what love looks like. And in the resurrection, He showed us what victory looks like. In all that He did, Jesus not only told us, He showed us as well.
Then, in His final instructions as He was leaving this earth, He told His disciples to “go and do”. In other words, we are to take everything we’ve heard from Jesus and put it into practice. To actually do it. The apostle James drives this point home in James 1:22, where he tells us to “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers.”
The pattern is clear - God wants us to learn more about what it means to live for Him by actually putting into practice what it is that we're learning about Him. Which, of course, makes perfect sense, because actually doing what we've studied helps us to truly see the depth of what it is that we're learning.
So today, let's ask God to help us be doers of His word. Let’s ask Him to help us remember all that we’ve heard at church, and read in our Bibles, and actually put it all into practice - and in this way, experience the fullness of who He’s creating us to be.