My people come to you . . . and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice. (Ezek. 33:31)

IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH you know. It’s what you actually practice that counts.

Mark Twain reportedly said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

Like many others, Mark Twain understood that knowing what the Bible says only guarantees that you have a good memory. It does not guarantee correct behavior. Putting it into practice is the challenge.

Most people who are stopped by the police for speeding can try to plead ignorance about the speed limit. But the limit is clearly posted on most streets and highways. Violators either don’t pay attention to their speed, ignore the posted limit, or somehow think they are an exception to the rule. None of these arguments impresses the officer who stops them.

The wise person not only becomes familiar with the law; he or she obeys it. Otherwise, they are like persons who see their reflection in a mirror but turn and walk away, forgetting what they just saw. James says, on the other hand, that “the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).

The wise person listens, meditates on the truth, and then puts it into practice.

Determine today that you will put into practice what you already know.

Ron McClung works at his denomination’s world headquarters and lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife, Carol. They have two sons and nine grandchildren.