When I was little, my dad told me that lying is the worst thing you can do. I was puzzled by such a sweeping statement. “Why dad?”
“Because if you kill someone, or steal something you can always still lie about it,” said my dad. Not the feel-good father daughter conversation of the year or a quote I’d post above my bed.
My dad was interesting that way. I was probably only 5 years old when he told me that, but he said it as if there was no further explanation needed. He often threw out statements like a verbal chemist waiting to see if the words would have some sort of reaction within me or fizzle out dead.
I’ve never let his instruction leave me, yet I’m only now discovering one of the worst lies I’ve allowed to pervade my life. When I say it, you might be confused. It’s a short string of 5 unassuming letters that you would never guess. It has been dressed up in common vernacular, but I’m calling myself out.
Here it is:
Curious isn’t it?
Here’s why I am lying to you if I say this.
If I knew whatever it was that you’re telling me, I’d be doing it and you wouldn’t feel compelled to explain it to me. For example, “You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day” or “It’s important keep your fingertips curved inward when chopping vegetables” or “make sure to add this to your calendar- don’t forget” or “remember to pack your toothbrush.”
Something I have done in the past, something I am currently doing, or perhaps your own guiding nature has inclined you to remind me of these things.
If you are just telling me information because you are the type who likes to dole out wise counsel then that’s great because at some point or another, I will need it. I don’t know everything. Even if I’ve heard it before, reminders are a good thing.
On the other hand, if you are telling me because you think I need it, then I probably do. Here’s the cutting reality: If I am not displaying this knowledge in my actions then I truly don’t know it.
This is the verse that has me thinking about all of this:
“But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” – James 1:22 NLT
The NASB translation of James 1:25 says to be “an effectual doer.” I looked up what effectual means. It means that your actions have AN EFFECT. You produce results. That phrase rings within my mind now, “be an effectual doer.”
Do I need to eat less? Be an effectual doer. Do I need to be slower to get angry? Be an effectual doer. Do I need to go to bed earlier? Be an effectual doer.
If I say “I know” to you, then I am lying. I don’t know. Chances are since I’ve written this post, I won’t be saying “I know” for a long time. Even in my head. I want to be a person who doesn’t show knowledge with words, but with a life well-lived. I’m a long way from that. In the meantime, somewhere between conceiving the idea about something and actually making it happen in my limbs- that’s where you’ll find me. I’m wrestling to not let God’s word fizzle out dead. It’s worth the fight. Otherwise I’m lying to myself and you know what my dad says about lying.
Here’s my challenge to you: Be an effectual doer.