I didn’t realize it but I am on a growth spurt; not so much my height or even my weight, but in my spiritual life. God has been teaching me, stretching me and pushing me; even the trial taught me some things.
I have been doing more reading during this period, I have been on two retreats, I have been through a jury trial and I have spoke at two events. I am now trying to read through the Psalms. One of the books I am reading I picked up at the silent retreat. I started it and hoped I could get it finished. I did not, amazingly enough it was my friend’s book and she allowed me to bring it home to finish reading. It has touched my life and continued my learning process on prayer and being silent. Its title, “Living Prayer” caught my eye. It was written by Robert Benson. The copyright is 1999, so it is not a new book. I think some of the oldies are just as good as some of the new ones, don’t you?
I am learning several things in this little book. The next few devotions just may be on things God has taught me through this book.
One of the many (not the first by any means) things that caught my eye was a statement he made on page 124, “If we would dance our way into some deeper communion with God, we must stop working on the Word, wherever it is found, and let it begin to work on us.” Now I am going to share with you what God shared with me when I read it. What God shared with me may not be what Robert was talking about, but this is what God showed me.
I love to read, I order books that I can read online and I order books I can hold in my hands. I read new stuff and old stuff. All of the stuff or most of all I read is spiritual. Lately, I have been so thirsty for books that will teach me to know more about His word. I will soon be able to open my own library or book store. I have been reading from the Bible as well. It is safe to say I have been studying.
When I read this statement God impressed upon my mind that yes, I do a lot of studying. I read His word daily, but how often do I put into practice what I read. If I am studying and learning and not putting into practice anything I read or study who is it really benefitting? You can only fill a pitcher so full before it begins to spill out.
He reminded me it is close to the time the college graduates will graduate. Some of them will have at least four years of education; they have had time to study, gain knowledge and become wise in their field. They soon will begin putting into practice what they have studied. Doctors have had far more years of study and gaining knowledge, but one day their intern will be over and it will be a time to put in practice what they have learned.
God was sharing with me it’s time you put into practice some of those things you have been learning. It’s time to move from reading and studying the Word into allowing the Word to work on me, or though me to touch others lives. It’s time to move from reading, studying and learning to practice. He reminded me Doctors never stop learning. They are always learning new techniques, about new diseases, and new ways to treat illnesses, but what good is it to us, their patients, if they never put into practice what they learn?
Back to the pitcher; God was showing me it would be better if I poured my full pitcher into people’s lives rather than let it spill out and be of no use to anybody.
This is a book about prayer. Learning about prayer is wonderful. Learning how to pray for one another is awesome, but actually praying for one another is what we are called to do. I have been reading books on how to have a deeper relationship with God, but if I don’t put those things I have learned into practice what good is it for me? How can I have a deeper relationship if I don’t apply myself?
I just recently reread 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. What good is reading the love chapter and studying its concepts if I don’t apply it to my life?
Simply put God shared with me it’s time to move from studying to doing. It’s time to let the Word work through me and help others on their journey. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
James 2:26, “The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn’t her action in hiding God’s spies and helping them escape—that seamless unity of believing and doing—what counted with God? The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.” I can study books on developing my faith, I can study the Word, and I can grow in knowledge, but if I don’t put into practice what I learn according to The Message I am a corpse. Wow!
I don’t know what is ahead or what God has planned, but I do now it’s time to put into practice what He has been teaching me. Are you practicing your faith? Are you practicing what God has been teaching you? Is it time to move from reading and learning to doing? Is your pitcher spilling out or are you filling a life with the knowledge God has given you?
Dear God: It’s much easier to learn, to study, and to try and grasp what you are teaching me than to move forward and practice what you have taught me. My internship is coming to an end and it’s time to move into action. Call me where you want me, open doors as I walk this journey and bring people into my pathways. May I never let my pitcher overflow into uselessness, but be poured out where it can be useful. Guide my paths direct my ways. Amen.