Just this week I found myself feeling a bit starved of God's presence, and what did I do? I grabbed a book on spiritual growth and started to read. I analyzed the arguments, I critiqued the theology, but most importantly I indulged my gluttonous lust for more ideas and words and analogies, rather than spending the 30 min doing something that would actually contribute to my spiritual growth! Irony!
I guess Jesus knew people like me, because he ended his most profound and comprehensive sermon with an unforgettable image. Two men build houses a storm rolls into town and one house falls because it was built on sand, not rock. "That's what it'll be like," Jesus says, "if you just listen, and analyze and teach and memorize my words but fail to act on them. You've got to take those ideas and words that blow around in the wind like sand, and turn them into rock solid actions. A sermon heard is a bunch of nice words, but a sermon lived, is wisdom."
It is said that John, the Gospel writer, used to get up to preach to his church late in his life and say "Little children, love one another" and return to his seat. And he'd do the same thing week after week. I've sometimes wondered what would happen if preachers would refuse to move onto the next sermon, the next topic, the next passage, until we pew sitters actually did something about what had been said. Until we had actually acted on God's Word. I still wonder.
If you're like me, you probably 'know' more about Christianity than you really need to be a good Christian. You almost certainly know more than virtually all of the Christians in the early church, who celebrated the arrival of a circular letter from Paul. If we only acted intentionally and consistently on 1% of what we know...we'd all be saints. So I'm going on a diet: I'll be cutting back on my knowledge consumption and increasing my exercise of the knowledge I already have. How about you, do you need a knowledge diet?