If you take the Word of God into your head and spout it out to others, but you don’t take it any further, that’s called information. The Pharisees were truly remarkable when it came to information, intellectually amassing all kinds of biblical data. But they neglected to apply it. They refused to live it. They never oriented their lives to it – even though they loved to teach it to others.
No wonder Jesus told His followers,
“The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
So you must obey them and do everything they tell you.
But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”
(Matthew 23:2,3 NIV)
Information alone isn’t enough.
If you hear an exciting message that makes you want to stand up and shout, but you take it no further, that can be called inspiration. Most of us are pretty good at this. We love to listen to stirring music and attend motivating seminars – but usually that’s as far as it goes. This makes for good conversation and stirs our intentions, but it leaks. This kind of inspiration alone isn’t enough.
Conversely, when you ask, “How will I live differently because of what God has just said to me?” then incarnation has begun. Incarnation is what changes the world. Incarnation transforms your family. Incarnation rewrites your future. When God’s Word bleeds out your fingertips and toenails – when you treat it as fresh bread, to be consumed daily – what’s when it makes you a disciple.
…Just in your head: information.
…Just in your heart: inspiration.
…When it bleeds out of you: incarnation.
When it’s just in your head, it makes you Pharisaical. (And inside each one of us is a Pharisee just waiting to grow up!)
When it’s just in your heart, it makes you a fanatic.
When it bleeds out your toes, it makes you authentic.