If You Know It, Then Do It by Rick Warren
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
(James 1:22 NIV)
The Bible says in Mark 12:30, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (NLT). Another way to say this is, love God with all your talk, all your feelings, all your thinking, and all of your acting. God shaped you to be primarily either a talker, feeler, thinker, or a doer.
Talkers love God with their hearts. Feelers love God with their souls. Thinkers love God with their minds. Did you know that you can also love God with your intellect? Did you know that when you’re doing intellectual activities, it brings glory to God? When you’re developing and strengthening your mind, it is an act of worship.
People who are thinkers fall in love with the Bible when they become believers. They love to study that book. There is no other book in the world like it! It has the answers to life’s questions, like: “Why am I here? Where am I going? What is the purpose of life? Does my life matter? What’s the past? What’s the future? Where did I come from?” Thinkers love Bible study. Psalm 119:97 says, “How I love your law! I think about it all day long” (TEV).
We need thinkers, because the world needs consideration. Somebody has to be thinking through complex issues and the implications of what the rest of us are doing. We need people who think through tough problems and bring solutions to the table. That’s why we need scientists, writers, philosophers, and innovators.
But thinkers have to be careful to practice humility. The Bible says, “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom” (Proverbs 3:7a NLT). Why? Because God is God, and you’re not.
Humility is a choice. Not once in the Bible are you ever told to pray for God to humble you. It says to “humble yourself before the Lord.” It’s a choice. Humility is something you do to yourself. Nobody else can do it to you. They can humiliate you, but they can’t make you humble. In essence, humility is total dependence on God. It’s not denying your strengths; it’s being honest about your weaknesses.
Thinkers also need to be careful to practice what they know. If you know it, then do it! James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (NIV).
Do you believe you ought to give to the poor? Do you do it? Do you believe that people need Christ to go to Heaven? Do you tell them about it? Do you believe in tithing? Do you do it? You only believe the parts of the Bible that you do.
Talk It Over
• Is it harder for you to deny your strengths or be honest about your weaknesses? Why do you think this is so?
• Make a list of the things you believe in. Are you doing those things?
|THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL YOU CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD (3) by Bob Gas (Word for Today)|
|‘…Your thoughts…are the source of true life.’ Proverbs 4:23|
|Teach your child to ask themselves these two questions: 1) ‘How will I feel afterwards?’ What outlasts our decisions are the subsequent feelings of self-respect versus shame, and positive self-worth versus negative self-worth. Our actions ultimately become history, but our thoughts about them continue to shape our future. ‘Carefully guard your thoughts because they are the source of true life.’ Children with self-respect are much less likely to indulge in promiscuous sex, drugs, drinking, antisocial and illegal behaviours. Self-respect and self-worth are internal standards which we are loathed to violate. Giving in to selfish choices is like abandoning the moral core of our being-the sacred soul God gave us. 2) ‘How will the people I value feel about me after this decision?’ The trust and respect of others is always needed to succeed. Reputation trumps money, even in the secular marketplace. ‘Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver or gold’ (Proverbs 22:1 NLT). Poor decision making can earn us a reputation that’ll haunt our prospects indefinitely. ‘A person who plans (chooses) evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker’ (Proverbs 24:8 NLT). When you get a negative reputation, it’s hard to recover from it (Proverbs 25:10 NLT). The short-term benefits of making poor decisions lead to long-term losses and regrets. The person God blesses must ‘…exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation…’ (1Timothy 3:2 NLT).|
|THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL YOU CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD (2)by Bob Gas (Word for Today)|
|‘…A man reaps what he sows.’ Galatians 6:7|
|Somebody said, ‘Yard by yard life is hard, inch by inch life’s a cinch!’ For their life to go right, your children must learn to think right. So teach them to ask: 1) ‘What are my options in this situation?’ But do it with the right attitude. If your face is like thunder when you talk to them, they’ll run for cover. Brainstorm with them, writing down every option that’s offered. Tell them that no answers are wrong and no idea will be judged as silly; all suggestions are accepted and valued. You’re priming their creative pump, encouraging them to think for themselves. 2) ‘What benefits come from each option?’ The goal is not to coerce them, but for them to discover and embrace the truth for themselves. And that comes through patience, not pressure. Ask them to list which benefits seem most important to them. 3) ‘What negative consequences come from each option?’ Children can be brutally honest. That’s okay; it’s just part of learning God’s cause-and-effect law of sowing and reaping. Indeed, many adult regrets could have been avoided by following this law. Don’t preach or rant about how terrible the consequences are. Teach them to question themselves, ‘Am I willing to accept the consequences? How would they change my life?’ 4) ‘What personal values are involved in this decision?’ Values-based decisions call us to the high road rather than the path of least resistance. Suggest some godly values as primers, such as truthfulness, trustworthiness, loyalty, responsibility, compassion, friendship, self-denial, courage, honour, faith, etc. Break it down small for younger children, but don’t miss your opportunity.|
|THE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL YOU CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD (1)by Bob Gas (Word for Today)|
|‘…Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…’ Joshua 24:15|
|Good decision making is the key to a happy life. But good decision making is not a skill some of us are naturally blessed with, while poor decision making is a handicap others are born with. Courage, education, or the ageing process doesn’t automatically produce better decision makers. Spending time with good decision makers is wise, but it doesn’t rub off on you. And the earlier you teach this skill to your children, the better (Proverbs 22:6). So teach your children the following principles: 1) The consequences you get are the result of the choices you make. Let your children know it’s not their circumstances, but decisions they make about them, that govern their lives. You may think your children know this, but they don’t. Their ‘wiring problem’ makes ’cause and effect’ difficult to connect until their brain reaches later adolescence. Asking, ‘What were you thinking about?’ will just invite the famous shoulder shrug and blank stare. They’re not stupid-they just need guidance. 2) You will always have options. Children commonly feel powerless and hopeless when reacting to negative circumstances. They tend to be ‘either/or’ thinkers, concluding that things are either all good or all bad. Teach them ‘both/and’ thinking, because things can be bad yet you can choose to make good decisions about them. ‘Either/or’ thinking frequently produces children who become pessimistic, disempowered, easily manipulated, depressed adults. Knowing they always have good options prevents circumstances from dictating their lives.|