Learn by doing

Every so often a quote by Lucille Ball appears on social media: “I’d rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not done.” Though expressed in a negative way, the sentiment highlights the importance of action.

A Christian has a positive perspective on action. Little can be learned or gained from inaction. In Scripture, failure to act is frowned upon, mostly. “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, …” Acts 22.16. The Bible condemns laziness and indolence. The Lord does not know those who call him Lord but fail to do God’s will, Matthew 7.21-23.

God is the God who acts, always according to his saving plan and eternal purpose. “Lord, you have been active from ancient times; my sovereign God, you are immortal” Habakkuk 1.12. His activity distinguishes him from false gods who can do nothing, Jeremiah 16.19.

So let us be saints who act. We are urged to wake from the sleep of inaction, Romans 13.11. We ought to learn from the busy ant, Proverbs 6.4-11. Our vocabulary is full of words like diligence, practice, dedication, devotion, obedience, doing.

Years ago, a brother in Christ said he did not teach others for fear of making a mistake. His greatest mistake was in doing nothing, for no one would ever be saved by his failure to speak. We learn by doing. That is the Lord’s way. He is more powerful than our mistakes.

To return to Lucille Ball’s sentiment, we need not regret the things we have done, for God will use them for good, Romans 8.28. He will discipline us. He will stretch us and bring growth, if we put our lives in his hands. We all stumble in many ways, James said, and by those stumbles we do not fall, but learn self-discipline and wisdom, James 3.

Our best is never enough, but it is sufficient for the moment, because that is what the Lord wants from us. We walk in his light, 1 John 1.7, guided by it, drawn constantly toward it, purified by it, step by habitual step, consciously and purposefully moving and acting, knowing that by doing so we join a loving multitude of saints and discover the purification we earnestly desire.

Do and learn. Act and grow. Move toward fellowship. This is God’s way.

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