Knowing and Doing

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. – I John 1:5-10

SO YOU SHOW up the first day of school, and you’re assigned a new locker. Your homeroom teacher also gives you a slip of paper with the locker combination written on it: “16 right, 34 left, 16 right,” it says. “Oh, no thank you,” you say, handing the paper back to the teacher. “I’m just gonna make up my own combination.”

Or say you’re waiting at a bus stop for the No. 17 bus, the one that will take you across town so you can attend the college football game of the year between Smell U. and Awful State. You ask a woman standing nearby, “Does the number 17 bus stop here?”

“No,” she says, pointing across the street. “It stops around the corner at that bus stop.”

“Thanks,” you say, without moving. And you continue to wait for the No. 17 bus at the wrong bus stop.

Or let’s say a friend tells you about this cool new website he’s discovered. “It’swww.CIA.natsecurity.topsecret.wemayhavetokillyou.com,” he says. “You wouldn’t be­lieve all the cool stuff you can find there! You want me to write down the address for you?” You shake your head. “Nah,” you say. “I don’t need the address. I’ll just look around until I find it.”

Well, of course, if you do any of those things, you’d be crazy, right? You’d never get into your locker by making up your own combination. You’d never make it to the football stadium if you wait for the No. 17 bus at the wrong bus stop. And you’ll never find a top secret government website by just “looking around.” Why? Because truth is of no use unless it’s obeyed. It does no good for a teacher to give you a locker combination if you’re not going to use it. It’s silly to ask people if you’re at the right bus stop if you’re not going to move when they tell you no. And likewise, it doesn’t do any good to know the truth about God and his commands if you don’t do anything with that knowledge.

God told us what’s right and what’s wrong not only so we would know the truth but so we would also obey it. If you know what’s right but don’t do it, you’re no better off than you were before you knew the truth. (In fact, you’re worse off in many ways.) But if you know and do what’s right, you’ll open the door to many of God’s blessings in your life.

REFLECT: Knowing what’s right doesn’t guarantee we’ll do right. Can you think of a time when you knew what was right but did the wrong thing anyway? God told us what’s right so we would k_______ the truth and o_______ the truth. Knowing the truth is only half the battle; we must also choose to obey the truth.

PRAY: “Dear God, thank you for helping me to learn right from wrong. Help me not only to know what’s right but to do what’s right, too.”

– Josh McDowell
Youth Devotionals

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