Monday, October 23, 2017

Driver's Education and Collapsing Buildings

The first time my dad ever let me drive on the street was when I had just received my permit and was headed to my first driver's ed class. I had read and passed the test on the driving laws and I knew, for instance, that I was supposed to slow down going into a turn and accelerate out of it. Unfortunately, I still didn't know quite what it meant to slow down going into a turn. How much should I slow down? How soon should I slow down? My lack of understanding became apparent when I turned off of the main street onto the little side street which led to the school. I didn't slow down enough and swung around the corner far faster than I should have, turning directly into an oncoming car. Fortunately for me,  the other driver was paying attention and managed to avoid the unskilled teen driver heading straight for him. The experience of actually turning that corner gave me more understanding about driving than the three dozen times I had been told, "slow down going into the turn."

Far too often in our highly educated world  (even with just a high school diploma we have more formal education than 99% of the people throughout history) we make the mistake of believing that reading something or being able to quote something provides the same level of understanding as actually doing it. Then we take that mistake and apply it to the Word of God, somehow convincing ourselves that knowing what God's Word says means we understand it. But, wisely, the psalmist advised us, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow His instructions have good insight (Psalm 111:10, HCSB). Notice that the ones with good insight are the ones who follow His instructions not the ones who know His instructions.  The psalmist understood that simply being given instructions does not provide the same kind of insight and understanding as actually carrying out those instructions and seeing how they work in the real world.

Jesus passed on that same concept through a parable about a man building a house. Jesus said that those who heard his words and put them into practice were like a man who built a solid foundation for his house so that it would stand against the coming storms. But those who only knew his teachings by hearing them were like a man who built his house on the sand, without preparing a foundation, only to have it collapse when the storms came (Luke 6:46-49).

No matter how long or short a time you have been studying the word of God, greater insights come from putting it into practice, from following God's instructions, than from simply being able to recite back the words found on the Bible's pages. If you want to grow in your faith, if you want to understand God's Word more, you must do more than simply study God's Word from an academic perspective. You must live it out. Knowledge comes from reading and listening. Understanding comes from trying it out in the real world.

Preparing the Disciples for the Crane Kick

In the original Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, once his training began with Mr Miyagi, Daniel couldn't wait to learn to kick or punch....