Don’t just read it, practise it

President Muhammadu Buhari

Be doers of the word, not merely hearers,” (James 1:22). We rather cogitate on what we don’t know than act on what we know and need to do.

For example, a company knows it needs to improve the quality of its products, so the executives discuss the problem. They listen to presentations, read all kinds of books, consult the Internet, but never get around doing anything.

Their problem isn’t ignorance; it is knowing much, but not doing enough in solving their problems.

Another everyday problem is: People would rather debate the merits of protein over carbohydrates in the human fattening process.

Even closer is in examining the issue of true federalism in Nigeria today. The Nigerian constitution made Nigeria a federal republic, but we have never got along practising true federalism since the commencement of military rule in 1966.

Since decree 34 of 1966, with which the military ruled Nigeria, isn’t part of the constitution, subsequent rulers should not have followed it. Unfortunately, our herd instinct propelled us to follow the illegality till today. No one has as yet got around to follow the true intendment of our basic law.
Not even the holder of a doctorate degree in Philosophy among our former leaders got around repealing the decree with an executive order.

The bottom line is simple: Do what you want. Likewise, people would rather debate doctrines than do what the scriptures prescribe. As the old American advertisement of Nike sneakers said: “Just do it.”

Try loving difficult people, try forgiving your accusers. Nothing turns people on faster than one with a head full of knowledge, who lacks the grace and character of a man of letters.
It is the same today as it was in Bible times when James wrote: “Be doers of the word and not merely hearers.” Jesus ended his Sermon on the Mount with a striking story that addresses the gap between knowing and doing.

“Therefore, anyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock,” (Matthew 7:24).

Sadly, we find it easier to be smart than to be good. You do not need to know more of the scripture until you put into practice what you already know.
In the 1970s, while learning tennis as a member of the Yoruba Tennis Club in Onikan, Lagos, I would agonise over which racket to use- whether nylon or gut strings- whether to string them up at 65 or 70 pounds.

But my real problem was that I could not hit the ball properly. Instead of debating the minutiae, I simply needed to practice regularly to become a skilled player.

Indeed, you cannot be a doer of the word by drawing on your own strength and willpower alone; the Holy Spirit, which dwells within you, must help you. When you are doing what is right, the Holy Spirit within you will empower you to do it. When the situation arises, He will prompt you as to what you should do.

Jesus promised: “The Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you,” (John 14:26).

When in doubt, Jehovah will work with you, giving you opportunities until you get it right.
You learn by doing. However, when you cannot change your situation, here are two ways to align your thinking with the doer mode.

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