The difference between knowing truth and doing truth

I was in a really bad car wreck a number of years ago, but miraculously I walked away from it. Looking back, I should have let the ambulance take me to the hospital, but I was too stubborn and didn’t think I was badly injured. And, truthfully, I wasn’t badly injured. I did find out later that my left shoulder had indeed separated, and because of the delay in treatment I ended up in physical therapy.

That’s where I learned a very important lesson in life. See, I could go to my physical therapy appointments and meet with the doctor, but my shoulder didn’t get any better until I started doing the exercises he prescribed for me at home. I didn’t want to do them. They were uncomfortable and time-consuming, and I just sort of let them slide until I had to go back to my therapy appointment. Surely just meeting with the doctor and letting him poke my shoulder was enough. I didn’t have to do the exercises at home, right?


Anyone else ever been there? Where you think that you can get away with just doing half of what you’re supposed to do? And you wonder why things never change? I’m sure all of us have been there before, and that’s probably why we think we can get away with just listening to God’s Word instead of actually integrating it into our lives.

first_wreckToday’s verses are John 8:31-32.

Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

It’s one thing to know the truth, but it’s something else entirely to do the truth. Knowing and Doing are two very separate, very different things. Everybody knows that your car will run out of gas unless you fill it up, but just knowing that fact won’t stop you from running out of gas. You have to stop, pay too much money, and put gas into your car if you want it to keep running. Just knowing doesn’t make a difference. Just knowing won’t change anything.

It’s true that knowledge is power, but it’s only powerful if you put it to use. Otherwise it sits on a dusty shelf like that ancient book in the second hand shop that nobody wants. And all it’s good for is a paperweight.

God’s Word is the same way.

You can know a thousand Bible verses and still not live by them. You can know Jesus died for your sins without giving Him your heart. You can know that God exists without offering your life for His service. You can know that adultery, lying, stealing, is wrong and still do all of the above. You can know everything, but it won’t change your life until you do it.

As Christ-followers, we are called to do truth. Truth is a tool, just like God’s Word. The Bible calls itself a two-edged sword, but even a sword isn’t good for anything if all it does is sit around.

So what does that mean for you and me? Don’t just know God’s commands, do them. Don’t just know what God says is right, do it.

Want God to change your life? Want to see a difference in your world? It won’t happen if you just sit on what you know. You won’t see any difference at all just by osmosis. Doing truth is an active process, and it’s something you have to work at every day, a conscious decision you make every morning when you get up.

Stop resting on your blessed assurance, Christians. Get up and start doing what God says.