Just Do It!

I was speaking with a woman in the fitness room about a weight loss/exercise plan she’d decided to follow.

“I heard about it last year and it seemed very effective so I decided to do it. I went right out and bought the book.” She remarked.

“That’s great. How’s it going?”

“Well, so far, not too well.” She frowned.

“Why not?”

“Maybe because all I’ve managed to do is read the book.”

I meet a lot of people like that in the workout room at the Y. I also meet a lot of people like that at church. They’ve read the book. They’ve heard the sermons. But somehow, it’s not working. Must be that Christianity is broken. Right? Here’s another thought.

My daughter will take Driver’s Ed soon. Can you imagine what it would be like if she spent two weeks sitting in the classroom learning the rules, reading the book, watching the videos and listening to the lectures and then was issued her license? Of course, not. At some point, she’s got to actually get behind the wheel and learn to drive.

Or karate? Imagine what would happen if I sat to the side watching every class for a year, read every book I could find on martial arts and watched all the Karate Kid movies and then went in to my Kyoshi and asked for a black belt. It would never happen. At some point, it would be imperative that I suited up and actually attempted to punch and kick and block.

I love the book of James in the Bible. James was not into frills or eloquent build up. James had a Nike kind of faith. You can almost hear him shouting, “JUST DO IT!” In chapter one, he says “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” (James 1:22) At some point, we all have to get up out of the pew and put feet to this faith we say we have.

Another woman at the Y learned what church I attend and mentioned with excitement that she works with a man who also attends that church. “He’s an amazing guy. He actually lives his faith. I’ve never met anyone like him!”

It was wonderful to hear that this man clearly lived his faith but sad to hear her speak of him as such a rare find.

G.K.Chesterton once said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

Try it this week. After you listen to Sunday’s sermon or read your daily Bible reading, commit yourself to actually doing what it says this week. (If the sermon is unclear, shock your pastor. Ask him after service, “If I were to put your sermon into practice this week, what would I do?”)

Don’t worry about getting it perfect. My daughter will need a lot of practice before she can hit the highway. I fell on my backside a million times before I could pull off the kicks I needed to earn my black belt. When we first try to love others or tell the truth or forgive or reach out to the poor or stop complaining and gossiping, we’re clumsy at it, we fumble, we falter, we look like fools. That’s OK.

What’s not OK is reading God’s word, nodding in agreement and then going off without doing what it says. James says this is SELF-deception and I understand that because, believe me, it doesn’t fool anyone else. Be the person that people meet and say, “That woman or that man really lives out his or her faith.” Maybe together, we can start to make meeting doers of the word a more common experience!

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    The Conversation

  1. Don Umphrey says:

    In some cases I believe that people have to feel some kind of emergency in their lives before getting really serious about spiritual growth. They lose their job, their life-savings, their health, their loved-one, their freedom. The prodigal son was starving to death in a pig pen before he had a his moment of clarity as to his position in life and headed home to his father.

  2. Seems like we may be living in times that are ripe for spiritual growth, then! How are you, Don? I am praying that those who read this post will not wait for a crisis to motivate them to live their faith.

  3. Great post. It reminds me also of what I have found to be true in Internet Marketing. You can buy all the books in the world, telling you how to get traffic, how to grow your list, etc., but if you don’t take action on what you learn in the books, it’s been a waste of your money.

    So it is with Christianity. It’s better to read a paragraph a day and put it into practice, than to read through the Bible in a year, and not let it change your life.

  4. Joe Crowley says:

    A few years ago, Pastor Don was speaking on the living out your faith deal. He got into the “If God gives you something to do, jump off the cliff, go with it, and trust!” My response was, “That is exactly the invitation I have been waiting for, Thank you very much!” The only thing better than the look on his face and his gasp for breath when I did jump was being used to get our Short Term Missions Team program to where it is today. Pastor Mike was saying the same thing last Sunday. My response to that has been, “God please give me something, something good, something on the edge, and something just plain crazy!” There is nothing better and more exciting than living Faith, and Faith beyond today’s Faith. A close second is the Pastor’s reaction when you do! All to the Glory of God!!!

  5. Karen says:

    What a visual and powerful way to put it all into perspective. Our actions are the external evidence, the outward representation, of our faith. They are what show us to be genuine – the real deal. James is one of my favorite books of the Bible because of his no-frills focus on our Christian actions, or lack thereof. If we could all spend every day with the attitude in the writing of James, what a beautiful world this would be. The important thing to remember is that when we falter, and we will (thank you very much, Adam and Eve), we hop right back up, dust ourselves off, and say, “I’m here, God, where do you want me now.” Then, we just follow.

  6. Laurie, what a great idea. We should try reading a verse this week and living that verse. Next week, a new verse.

    Joe, you are my role model for living it out – you and Cece!

    Karen, thank you for the encouragement and the reminder to hop right back up and keep at it!

    God bless!

  7. Cheri says:


    Thank you for this post! So true, so true. Even if our attempts are clumsy, we are to try. Practice makes perfect!

    I am reading book by Mark Cahill called One Thing You Can’t Do in Heaven. In it, he talks about the one thing we cannot do when we get to Heaven, witness to an unbeliever. And he goes on to say that the only way to get proficient at witnessing, the only way to conquer our fear in doing it, is to do just that: DO IT! And he gives amazing encouragement on how easy it can be.

    Love your blog,

  8. Cheri, Thanks for dropping by and leaving words of encouragement and challenge. Sounds like a great book – I just saw it at Christianbooks.com. I’m working on a blog post about that very issue. Stay tuned!