When I was in 9th grade, I took my first automotive class. The teachers name was Mr. Summers. He was a nice man but knew when to be firm or even loud. I loved that classroom because it had a very distinct smell of oil and tires at the time. This class was always the last class of the day for the last quarter of the year and the whole point of the class was to build the foundation of our knowledge in automotive mechanics and to see if we were really interested in it as a career.
After about three weeks in the classroom, I remember sitting there behind my desk when the teacher came out of his office making all sorts of ruckus noises. Mr. Summers then proceeds to pull out small lawnmower engines. I still remember the next sentence to this day. “Each one of you is to tear down these engines and put them completely back together. They all currently work and will need to work at the end as well.” I think my eyes about fell out of their sockets and all of our chins about hit the ground. Mr. Summers was serious and we had about two weeks to figure it all out. Learning about automotive mechanics is one thing, tearing down an engine and rebuilding it is really putting it into practice.
In Philippians chapter 4, Paul is wrapping up his letter to them and before he shows his appreciation for their support, he gives them one last piece of counsel. Verses 8 and 9 say, “Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise – dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.”
You see they have been taught about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. It’s one thing to know and to hear these things. But that is not just enough to hear and to learn about them. They need to put these into practice and when they put them into practice God’s peace will be with them.
We talk a lot about the things we read in the Bible. In fact, some of us know a whole lot about what is in the Bible. But just knowing about what is there isn’t enough. We need to put it into practice. We need to live by those words and show them with our daily life. When we say we need to do something, we need to put it into practice and actually do it. We don’t want to catch ourselves in a position where we have heard the Good News, seen the Good News, believe in the Good News, and do nothing about it. Put it all into practice and use it every day.
I did eventually get that little engine going in 9th grade and Mr. Summers was right. Putting the lessons into practice made a big difference.