John 8:31-32 - So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed Him, "If you abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
A truck driver happened to glance out the window of his cab one afternoon and, to his amazement, saw a three-legged chicken trotting alongside. The trucker, unable to believe his eyes, stepped on the accelerator. Lo and behold! The chicken kept pace -- at 65 miles per hour.
The driver, sure he must be hallucinating, tromped down on the pedal still harder. As the semi barreled along at 85 miles per hour, the trucker rubbed his eyes in astonishment. The three-legged chicken passed him and kept going, disappearing down the highway.
Seeing a truck stop ahead, the driver slowed his rig and pulled over. Some local farmers were there.
He told them about the three-legged chicken, and one of the farmers said, "I believe you. In fact, I raise 'em!"
The trucker was amazed. "How ... and why?"
"Well, I have three children," explained the farmer, "and they all fight over the drumsticks. So, I bred my flock until I got chickens with three legs."
"Oh. How do the taste?" asked the trucker.
"I don't know. I haven't caught one yet."
Some predicament. Yet so often we Christians find ourselves in the same dilemma. We refine, refine, and refine doctrinal statements and definitions. After much study and work, like that farmer, we get results. We find ourselves able to state exactly what God has said, in so far as it's possible for our limited human minds. This concern for truth is good. Jesus promised, "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
But the truth can free us only when and if we use it, when and if we practice what we have learned. St. Paul wrote, "The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Practice these things" (Philippians 4:9).
But too often, like that farmer, we fail to "catch" the benefits of our efforts. For instance, what good does it do to know that God answers prayer, if we never pray? Or if we pray only vague platitudes, not really expecting God to respond to our requests? What good does it do to know that Jesus defeated Satan for us, if we never use His victory to overcome sin and failure in our lives?
Sooner or later, theory must spill over into our practice. Sooner or later, theology must be translated into who we are and what we do. Thank God that His Spirit makes this possible. Thank God that His Spirit teaches us the truth through His Word and frees us to "do the truth" once we know it.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, the truth is we often do not apply our faith in our lives. Forgive us our shortcomings and by Your Holy Spirit empower us to be the people we can be. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
From The Lutheran Layman, April 1983 issue, "Three-Legged Chicken" by Jane L. Fryar
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