Christian maturity is not about the person with the largest notebook, nor is it the person who wants to do everything. Both ‘knowing the truth’ and ‘doing the truth’ are needed together for Christian growth to take place, if ether one is neglected then spiritual growth will not take place. The Bible study process only reaches its fulfillment when biblical truth is applied to life situations. The full Bible study process must contain both knowing Biblical Truth and applying the Biblical truth, otherwise proper Bible study has not taken place.
I want to illustrate the folly of when either doctrine or application takes precedence over the other. I’ll call these two conditions a disease, and both diseases will stunt Christian maturity.
It’s fantastic to learn doctrine, study the Bible, and make it your life ends to know the truth. But I’d like to describe the symptoms if this is the only end. The Christian suffering from “Note-itus” will always like to be in the Bible study but then forgets what was learned when he goes home. There may well be a separation between the sacred and the secular, or Sunday and Monday. He may well be quick to point out faults in people, and having a large head may well make him judgmentally critical. Now there’s nothing wrong with making judgments for we make judgments every day. However there is a difference between being critical about people, and exhorting someone in love. Being critical is showing yourself to be better than the other person in order to make them feel inferior while simultaneously highlighting yourself as knowing so much. In this state the person becomes like a hedgehog, despite having all their points in order, they’re kinda hard to hug! On the other hand to make judgments in love has with it the aim of building the other person up, and at the same time recognizing in your own flesh dwells no good thing. The advice may hurt the other person but the focus is for their wellbeing, “faithful are the wounds of a friend.”
Being the person who is seen to be busy does not make someone spiritually mature. Now it’s great to do stuff, help out, have a desire to show Christ to the world, but there is no value if done from the source of the Old Man. People with this disease base life on their feelings and own self will. They can’t walk by faith properly because they don’t know who or what to trust. Everything we know of the Christian way of life is from the word of God, and the more we know the word of God the more we know the person who it is all about – Jesus. We cannot trust someone more than we know them. Therefore if we don’t know the Bible, how can we put our trust in someone we don’t know? Faith demands content and the content of our faith is the word of God. If biblical truth is neglected then this truth cannot be done because we cannot do what we do not know. The person suffering from “Do-itus” will lack a steadfastness in their life. Good Doctrine brings steadfastness when the waves life come our way. Without this anchor to the soul the Christian can be tossed to and fro and not be properly equipped to cope with life situations. They can very likely end up on the rocks of bad-doctrine, unbelief, and despair. On these waves ministry ‘burn out’ is common.