Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Creed or Deed?

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. (2Tim.2:15) “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Tit.2:14)

Ravi Zacharias has made the observation that some people relate better to ideas than they do to other people. The question remains, “Is this a bad thing?” You may disagree, but I would contend that it is the same as asking whether it is it better to be right-handed or left-handed. I say this knowing there are those who consider left-handedness to be less than ergonomically efficient in a world in which approximately 80% of the population is right-handed; and also knowing that some people would argue, right-handedness represents those inclined to “do” more than “think,” while others would argue just the opposite. To my way of thinking, there are people who are better at enlightened reasoning than engaging conversation, and to belittle either inclination is like forcing a naturally left-handed child to use his or her right hand.

This brings me to the real question I want to address, however: Is it more important to know what you believe or to put what you believe into practice? Creed or Deed? Granted, people who hear the Word of God without doing it are only deceiving themselves (James 1:22), but people who “do” without a clear understanding of what God is really asking them to do are like the people Paul wrote about who had zeal “but not according to knowledge” (Rom.10:2). God would have us to be “zealous of good works” (Tit.2:14), not merely “zealous of the traditions of our fathers” (Gal.1:14). To serve God because others do, and in the same way everyone else does, might be acceptable if we did not have an instruction Book of our own. Paul’s prayer for the Christians of Colosse was that they would be “filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9). Notice the words, “spiritual understanding.” God would not have given us a Bible of our own if He had not also made provision for a personal Tutor: “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth…” (Jno.16:13).

Having said that, and to go back to our original analogy, are there those Christians who are better at “rightly dividing the word of truth,” while others are more “zealous of good works”? No doubt; but to limit ourselves to the one we do best is like tying one arm behind us. One hand may work better than the other, but we have far more physical dexterity if we are able to use both. People who are gifted in Biblical apologetics need to “be careful to maintain good works,” (Tit.3:8) as well; and people who are filled with zeal for God need to also be filled with spiritual wisdom and understanding. When it comes to deciding which is more important, knowing the Word of Truth or putting it into practice, the answer is that you and I should be spiritually ambidextrous! It’s not Creed or Deed; it’s Creed and Deed.

No comments:

Post a Comment