Column One


<<use, relevance>>

The knowledge of God, His ways and Word, is of no benefit until applied to ‘real’ life. Just as a glass of water to a thirsty man is powerless to affect his need unless he drinks it, so it is with salvation – a person may know all about Jesus, but only by personal acceptance, will that person enter into God's family and escape hell. Therefore, it is vitally important to be exposed to regular Bible teaching from your Church, books and other media in addition to your own personal devotions and Bible study so you can apply this in your daily life. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you apply the principles of God’s word to your heart. Pray for those Christians who don’t appear to be living by the Bible’s standards; maybe even confronting them in love, challenging them to consider their ways (2 Cor 5:18,19; Gal 6:1).

Am I putting the knowledge I already have into practice, living up to the teachings of the Bible? Some people are too busy chasing after new teaching they don’t have time to apply what they already have received. Don’t spend all your time amassing knowledge – put it into practice. Unless outworked in life, it is only theory. He wants us to do right, not just talk about it. By putting our knowledge into practice

Do what the Word says – James 1:22

we gain the wisdom of experience. A hypocrite is one who does not practice what he instructs others to do. It is futile to say, this is the Word of God to us if we don’t outwork it in our lives (Ezek 33:30-32). Jesus warned that not all who called Him Lord would be in Heaven – just those who obey Him, thus putting into practice His Word determines a good outcome of our lives, failure to do that ends in disaster (Mt 7:21-27).

How will I apply what He has made available to me? We need the divine intervention, "Then He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures" (Lk 24:45). The religious leaders knew the facts but missed the mark; they were so bound up with their own system and beliefs they failed to recognise the person they were looking for – Jesus who was among them (Jn 5:39).

While all of the Bible is truth and we can learn from its teachings and principles, we must discern what is directed and relevant to a particular audience or time period, and what is valid for all people all the time. Although the Bible was written to others, it speaks to us (Rom 15:4). The foundation of application is being attentive to what God is saying and having the correct interpretation, so you do not misunderstand and misapply Scripture. For example, the angel's command to Joseph, "take the child and His mother and flee to Egypt" is not a directive to anyone today to buy a ticket to Egypt (Mt 2:13). The personal application involves listening to God's voice and acting on what He says. Those who attempt to take the entire Bible as if it directly applies today end up distorting the Bible.

Scripture asks, “How can a person keep their way pure? By reading and applying the Word to one's life, letting it govern all they do” (Ps 119:9,11). “Get my words and you will live” (Prov 4:4). Our motivation should be to live for the glory of God. If we don’t put into practice what we have heard or read of what use is it? Application involves listening and obeying (Deut 5:1).  The Bible message is: don’t just listen, do what He tells us to do for it is only then can we receive the blessing. We will be punished and suffer loss if we don’t obey (Jn 2:5; Rom 2:13; Jas 1:22-25). Allow the miracle working power of Jesus within to transform you into what He wants you to be. Remain obedient, teachable and humble. Pray, Lord give me ears to hear and help me obey.

Do not allow preconceived ideas to blind you from being open and exploring new concepts provided they don’t violate what the Bible teaches. There are always new methods we can learn to be more effective in our ministry for Christ.

Applying the Bible is the duty of all Christians, "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it" (Mt 7:24-27; Lk 11:28; Jn 13:17). Reading it is the first step, followed by study through prayerful attention to its message asking does this passage require that I

Ask, 'How does this apply to me?'

take action? If so, what action should I take? Obedient action is the final step causing God's Word to come to life in our lives and bring the desired transformation. Application is putting the truth we have discovered to use in our lives with the ultimate goal of transformation or life change more into that of Christ. This takes place as we are confronted with the truth and then respond to that truth with obedience; moving from informing our mind with knowledge to it being renewed (Rom 12:2). We should never go to the Scriptures with no intention whatsoever of obeying or allowing them to change our lives for the better. However, do not substitute superficial obedience for substantial life change or rationalisation for repentance. While we self-righteously may consider a sermon application is directed at a fellow believer, Jesus said our first priority is to check our own life and heart first (Mt 7:3-5).

See also: action/activity, being and doing, devotions, hypocrite, information, knowledge, meditate/meditation, outworking, study, transform/transformation, utilize.