Between saying and doing, many a pair of shoes is worn out.
Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense? (James 2:14-17)
Outrageous nonsense indeed. Many a pair of shoes is worn out. Why? We spend way more time trying to figure out if we will move in total abandonment toward obedience than we might realize. We might not even realize how many 'steps' we are taking to attempt to find some 'other way' than the one God asks us to take! In the 'wandering' here and there, attempting to find some 'other way', we find the 'other ways' are just not ever going to measure up to the 'one way' God asks us to venture into alongside him. We can go through life learning all the right stuff and then fail miserably when it comes to applying all the stuff we have learned. Why? Saying we understand what to do is one thing - actually doing it means we put feet to those words - that involves us abandoning ourselves to doing what we know needs to be done. It is this whole point of abandonment that actually gives us moments of distress. Why? There is a 'cost' to allowing God to take action within us and through us.
I have to acknowledge is that it is easy to 'do' some things and harder to 'do' others. Tell me not to drink hard liquor and that would be an easy 'do' for me. I never even liked the smell of the stuff! Am I really being obedient when I avoid the intake of that liquor? Nope! I am just following my own desires or preferences. Tell me to give up chocolate and that will be an entirely different battle for me! Why? I actually like chocolate! To learn to live without chocolate would be harder for me because I have to 'unlearn' the intense 'like' I have for it.
There are times we equate obedience with doing the stuff we find very easy to do in our lives, but I want to challenge us today to consider what God may be asking us to 'do' that isn't all that easy. It is likely we may be wearing out the shoe leather between knowing what to do and actually doing it! Obedience isn't always instantaneous - there are a whole lot of times we know what to do and still do nothing with that knowledge. If you are there today don't be discouraged. While you still have 'shoe leather' left - stop! Let God show you how quickly you can actually take the first step toward obedience - then take it! Just sayin!