On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus...
Religious expert: "Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"
Jesus: "What is written in the Law? How do you read it?"
Religious expert: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"
Jesus: "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live." (see Luke 10:25-28)
The above dialogue from the Gospel of Luke was on my mind this morning. Very simple. Yet, often overlooked. Jesus didn't tell him to make sure he believed a certain set of doctrines or make sure that he did a whole bunch of things. How Jesus dealt with the question got right to the man's heart.
Notice that the man already knew the answer to his own question. Jesus said DO THIS and you will live; he didn't say KNOW THIS and you will live. People who have grown up around religion often know the right answer, but doing it proves difficult. Jesus said that those who hear his words will be blessed if they put them into practice (John 13:17). Otherwise, they will be like a man building a house on the sand (Matt 7:26). There will be a house there; it might look nice to the occassional passerby... but the end is destruction.
I may learn a lot about "the Kingdom of God" or "church" or all kinds of things, but if the things I learn do not find reality in my life, then it is no good at all.
So, if you know the right answer, but do not put it into practice... the answer does you no good. In fact, you have actually deceived yourself.
As we learn more about what it means to be part of the Body of Christ, let's not let our knowledge get in the way of actually doing what we learn.