A famous shoe company used the phrase “Just Do It!” as their slogan a few years ago. I thought about this slogan earlier today when I read Dave Black’s essay “Ride That Horse!” Dave says that constantly discussing Christianity without putting it into practice is like reading a book about horses, but never riding a horse. Consider this paragraph:
This is a day when we are so incredibly busy discussing and disagreeing and interpreting and debating that we never do anything for the kingdom. Itâ€™s so easy to spend all our time listening to lectures or reading books on the Christian life â€“ homeschooling versus government education, elder-led versus elder-rule polity, age-integrated versus age-segregated church â€“ that we never do any real service for the Lord. Discussing has become a substitute for doing and we have failed to do those good works that God planned for us to do before the creation of the world.
I confess that I have fallen into this trap before. I love to discuss theology, especially ecclesiology. I love to discuss Scripture. But, recently I have been convicted of exactly what Dave is talking about here. While it is good to discuss and learn, we must be put into practice what we learn!
One of the things that I have specifically attempted to do in the last few months is to truly live what I believe about the church. I have noticed many times recently that people have disagreed with my view of the church, and have argued with me in order to convince me that their view is correct, but, all the while, they were not living out their own view of the church. Perhaps my view is faulty in places (and, I’m sure it is), but by God’s power and grace I am trying to live what I believe.
For example, I now put much more emphasis on people instead of an organization. I also spend much more time discipling people than I spend making organizational decisions. I also try to encourage other believers when I’m with them, and I try to give them an opportunity to encourage me and others.
What about you? Are you riding the horse, or only reading the book? Are you only discussing the church, or are you also living as the church?