Closing the Gap Between What You Know and What You Do

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Marti Pieper

Maybe if blogs had scent, you could have smelled how hard I worked on Saturday. The landscaping pavers that circled my mother-in-law’s tree had slowly shifted with time, so I determined to pull them all out, level the ground with sand, and put them back. Backbreaking, but not all that complicated.

I finished replacing the last stone, only to see something horrible.

“Are you okay?” Matt popped his head out of the house to ask. We both fixed our eyes on the four-inch gap in my circle.

How was that even possible? Take the stones out. Level the ground. Put the stones back. I guess pavers can gain extra girth around the midline, without even trying, just like a 49-year-old woman can.

I lifted tired eyes to that man and asked him what I should do. The answer was to work my way back around the circle, tightening the pavers together one at a time, until I made up the difference and the two ends met.

Now imagine my thoughts when I was reading the next morning, You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit, by James K. A. Smith, and he said this: Sanctification is closing the gap between what I know and what I do.

Ah, cursed gap.

Especially lately I’ve felt like I know so much about how to act but can’t quite pull it off in real life. I’ve been a woman sitting in the grass all sweaty, looking at a space that shouldn’t exist, and wondering how in the world I’m going to get rid of that. It’s discouraging, I tell you, to work so hard and still come up short.

Paul tells us: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

That means we’re a whole world full of people who have a circle where the ends don’t meet. So embarrassing. So humiliating to want to be good but come just four inches too short. But James Smith says, “The Spirit of God meets us in that gap.”

Who does that? I mean, who wants to come right where your huge mistake is and help you fix it?

Feel the relief this kindness brings.

And pray with me, “Come, Lord Jesus, and rework all the pieces of my life, until there’s a tight fit between what I know to be right and what I actually do.” {eoa}

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