Wednesday, August 17, 2011

There's a Big Difference

A new school year. Plenty of challenging subjects, and a lot to learn. I remember ninth grade Algebra. The concept was foreign. It felt like combining an English lesson with math – all those letters mixed in with numbers. It didn’t seem right.

A couple days into the class and I knew I needed help. Problems stared back at me on my homework assignment, and all I could do was stare back. Dad to the rescue. He taught me the principle that ‘what you do to one side of the problem, must be done to the other side.’ At first, I just watched him solve a problem. It still wasn’t making sense. The fog wasn’t lifting.

When it was my turn, I tried following the same pattern, but I was lost. My goal was to finish my homework, I really wasn’t applying myself to learning this strange new subject. My Dad tried explaining the process another way. By the end of the evening, both of us were frustrated, but I had gotten through the homework.

The next day in Algebra, the proverbial light bulb went off in my head. It all made sense. What my Dad had walked me through the night before, combined with the teacher’s explanation gave way to understanding. I was no longer mortified to step to the chalkboard and solve a problem because I was able to apply what I had learned. Ah, what a good feeling!

Sometimes Biblical principles are like that Algebra lesson. I know what God is saying, but I’m not focused on applying His truth to my life. There’s a big difference between knowing some facts and being able to apply them to real life.

I know God’s Word places an emphasis on loving others. In fact, almost an entire chapter in the New Testament is devoted to defining what ‘love’ is and is not. The Apostle Paul writes, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, “ (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; KJV).

I may have this entire passage committed to memory, but when I’m in a situation that challenges me to demonstrate love to someone, and I respond selfishly and in anger, I’ve clearly missed the point. There’s a disconnect somewhere between my head and my heart. I may need to revisit these verses and analyze my actions. When I understand what they’re saying, I can make the choice to apply their meaning in my personal relationships.

Learning a bunch of facts that I can quote, pales in comparison to being able to take what I’ve learned and apply it to every area of my life. Living out my Christianity involves more than just reading the Bible and being familiar with what it says. It’s actively applying the concepts that are contained in its pages. Today I choose to bridge the gap between my head and my heart, living out the principles pleasing to my Heavenly Father.

Do you struggle with a disconnect? What will you do today to apply what you know to be true?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for revealing the disconnect between knowing something and being able to apply it. Help me to understand what Your Word says and apply it to every situation in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


  1. I try (though not always succeed) to show God in everything I do and say, since I know our small kids are always watching me and listening to me, aspiring to be just like me. I pray for wisdom and strength - and God comes through!

    And thanks, Maria, for commenting on my blog and for becoming a Follower! It's so great to meet you! I enjoyed looking through your blog and will bookmark it so I can come back again soon!

    Thanks again! :)

  2. Lauren - Welcome to Life Lessons! Great to have you stop by. It's wonderful to have our children want to be just like us, but it's also very humbling. Praying for wisdom and strength is a definite must! I look forward to getting to know you and pray you have a blessed day!

  3. I love when you say that living out Christianity is more than what we read in the is truly about actions. It is my prayer that people can tell, just by my actions, that I am a Christian. Great post

  4. So true! Sometimes we leave church or walk away from our quiet times and fail to apply what we've learned. Thanks for great post.

  5. HELLO...

    please come to my blogs & pls join my blog i m all ready join ur blogs pls come my site

    बहुत ही सुन्दर लेख है आपकी बधाई स्वीकार करें
    मैं आपके ब्लाग का फालोवर हूँ क्या आपको नहीं लगता की आपको भी मेरे ब्लाग में आकर अपनी सदस्यता का समावेश करना चाहिए मुझे बहुत प्रसन्नता होगी जब आप मेरे ब्लाग पर अपनी उपस्थिति दर्ज कराएँगे तो आपकी आगमन की आशा में पलकें बिछाए........
    आपका ब्लागर मित्र
    नीलकमल वैष्णव "अनिश"

    इस लिंक के द्वारा आप मेरे ब्लाग तक पहुँच सकते हैं धन्यवाद्

    click this links & join me my blogs pls come once time pls

    1- MITRA-MADHUR: ज्ञान की कुंजी ......

    2- BINDAAS_BAATEN: व्यंगात्मक क्षणिकाएं......

    3- MADHUR VAANI: व्यंगात्मक क्षणिकाएं......

  6. Maria,
    I've given you the Liebster Award! My daughter and I enjoy your blog so much! You can find out about the award here:

  7. Oh, yes, I struggle all right. How about "Be angry but do not sin"? Or, "As much as it depends on you, be at peace with all people." I need more of those light bulb moments, with the Holy Spirit as my teacher and God as my Dad.

  8. Oh, the disconnect...yeah:) I'm with you Maria. Thankfully we have a very patient Father who goes over and over our "homework" with us until we get it.
    Wanted to let you know I gave you the Liebster Award - though it appears you've just received it above! Ha...enjoy Maria, I love your blog.

  9. This is a lovely blog -- your writing has such a comfortable tone. It's a joy to read.

    I'd like to invite you to my blog --

  10. Thanks for sharing this Maria. It took me a while to let head knowledge become heart knowledge, but it sure makes a difference.
    Have a good weekend, enjoy!

  11. What a powerful example, Maria. I've been thinking about 2 Tim. 3 and how we tend to always be learning, but never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Thanks for faithfully proclaiming!

  12. I didn't respond to your question earlier -- I've learned to recognize the difference between loving other people because I choose to, and loving them because they pleases me in some way. In the 1st instance I'm (actually the Holy Spirit) is in control; in the 2nd, the other person calls the shots. There is no virtue in loving someone because he pleases me -- why wouldn't I? But there is virtue in love that isn't earned or deserved.


  13. KC - Good to see you! Wonderful prayer to pray: "...that people can tell, just by my actions, that I am a Christian." I'm borrowing that one! Have a great weekend. Hugs and God bless!

    Julie - Welcome to Life Lessons! So good to have you stop by! In our society with a 'what's in it for me' attitude, it's easy to go to church and leave the same way we came. Time to realize changes need to be made,submit to the Holy Spirit and apply what we're being taught, right? Have a great weekend. God bless!

  14. Neelkamal - Welcome to Life Lessons! So glad you stopped by! I look forward to visiting your site. Have a wonderful weekend, full of God's blessings!

  15. Marji - You're too sweet! Thank you so much for the award! So glad the Lord has used my blog in you and your daughter's lives. I'm truly humbled by your kind words. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs and blessings to you and your family! :)

  16. Jen - Thanks for your transparency! Sometimes we'd rather not admit to our shortcomings, but it's so important to identify them. That's when true progress can begin! Have a lovely weekend, full of His blessings, my friend!

  17. Deana - Welcome to Life Lessons! I appreciate your sweet comments about my blog. I look forward to stopping by your site!

    Thanks for answering the question, too. You're right that loving someone is easy when they please you, or do something that benefits you. On the other hand, choosing to love someone and not expecting anything in return is the true essence of love! Have a beautiful weekend filled with God's love!

  18. Susan - Great to see you! Love your observation, "Thankfully we have a very patient Father who goes over and over our "homework" with us until we get it." So true!

    Thank you so much for the award! I'm truly humbled to have received it from both you and Marji. I appreciate your kind words about my blog and consider it a privilege to share God's Word and what He's teaching me! Have a very blessed weekend, my friend!

  19. Marja - You're absolutely right! There's a big space between our heart and our mind - so thankful that the Holy Spirit made the connection. Hope you have an amazing weekend full of God's blessings! :)

    Julie - Thanks for stopping by! You're right - just gaining knowledge doesn't do much other than make us prideful. Being able to apply knowledge is an entirely different story - that's when it becomes wisdom. Have a great weekend. Hugs!

  20. Julie -- I think you're right about knowledge too, but I also think that too many Christians then decide to forgo knowledge altogether lest they become "puffed up." But since we are to "love God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds" and to "study to show ourselves approved unto God," we can't go there either. We have to go the whole way, learn and apply. That would be a tough order if the Holy Spirit weren't available to help us.

  21. Hi Maria -

    Sorry I've been A.W.O.L. because of conference prep, conference, and conference follow-up. I'm all conferenced out!

    Your story of 9th grade algebra brought back memories. For someone accustomed to scoring in the 90's, getting a 40 on a test was devastating. Thankfully, the lightbulb went off for me one day too. :)

    Your analogy gives me hope that if I keep applying the Word of God, the lightbulb will also go off in those difficult areas of my life.

    Susan :)