A brilliant and accomplished Bible translator and scholar had been presenting a series of lectures and studies at a very large church. After completing several sections of a presentation which was designed to continue for several months, he revealed a basic change in his format. Henceforth there would be an extended teaching and discussion after each study with the title: “Application”. For many months he had been given much knowledge of the Scriptures. However, someone now had asked him an all important question - how do we APPLY what we have been taught?
This indeed is an all important question...!
It is so important that it can be compared to the well known maxim so often expressed in the field of real estate investing. The three most important principles in real estate investing are: Location; Location; Location. In our endeavor to “live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth God”, APPLICATION is due comparable emphasis! Without application, we can become like an automobile tire - unless the air is applied correctly, it only inflates. Knowledge - even true knowledge of the Word of God - can just inflate. When this occurs, it is our head that grows larger - it never gets to our hearts. If it never gets into hearts, it will never get INTO OUR LIVES. There is where it is needed. There is where it can be applied (1 Corinthians 8:1-3). Needless to say, we all struggle with application - or at least we should. Every time we read or hear Gods Word, our entire being should be asking: HOW DOES THIS APPLY TO ME?
Closely related to applying the Bible, the admonitions of God’s servants, or even advice we may receive, is a question most of us usually avoid asking vocally - and that is, what is God’s part, and WHAT IS MY PART? When God gives us the light of new understanding or insight, we should be asking ourselves, what will I do with this? What is Jesus Christ (the Word), saying to ME personally, and HOW SHOULD I RESPOND? As with all things in life, application requires choices. The opportunity to APPLY in a wrong way is also wide open. Another maxim is applicable here - “the devil is in the details”. One simple example will illustrate this: “Money answers all things” (Ecclesiastes 10:19). If this statement is pulled out of context, and APPLIED in an incorrect way, one could simply follow a path of accumulating as much money as possible - after all, does not the Bible affirm that it “answers all things”?...This is cynical and absurd, but given here to illustrate the point. God’s written Word CAN be applied ad infinitum.
Some words that God speaks to us seem rather simple (as above), and are rather easily applied. We can see clearly how they apply to us. However, other words are, as the Apostle Peter said of Paul’s writings, “hard to understand”. This is God’s design. It is His design that grow in grace AND knowledge (2 Peter 3:18). Correctly applied knowledge leads to growing more and more in GRACE. It is a very sad to see that so many of God’s children today seem almost oblivious to the need for applying the truth they receive. Head knowledge seems enough. By so doing, if they continue, they miss a “great recompense of reward” they could receive (Hebrews 10:35-38). Some cannot rightly apply truth because those who present it do not encourage application (2 Timothy 2:14-16). Many begin as “babes” in Christ and remain so. They receive only the “milk” of God’s Word. Jesus Christ and God the Father never intended for ANY of us to stand still, or even to fall behind! Actually, if we are standing still, we automatically fall behind...(1 Corinthians 3:1-3).
Correct application requires wisdom. However, natural wisdom, even “wisdom” acquired through experience, is not enough for correct and right application of many principles God expects us to apply (Jeremiah 10:23). In truth, all things in life - activities, decisions, reactions, and choices are SPIRITUAL. All problems in the world have a spiritual base and beginning - and ending. All relationship problems in life, whether in industry, government, etc. are SPIRITUAL problems! Is it any wonder that the world cannot solve its problems. It does not KNOW the WAY to peace, so it cannot APPLY the Way to peace. Applying the Bible to our lives requires much SPIRITUAL wisdom (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). We as creations in God’s very image are the only creatures that possess the capacity for SELF JUDGMENT - with conscience and cognizance. By these God knows and can search our hearts by the Holy Spirit. Since it is God’s Word, and God’s will we are striving to do, it follows that ONLY THE HOLY SPIRIT CAN RIGHTLY APPLY HIS WORD IN US (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). This is GOD’S PART...
Now that the Holy Spirit has written it in OUR spirit, we then must implement it - this is OUR PART. This is a mysterious coalescence of God’s spirit and our spirit that sets in motion the application of His will in our lives (Proverbs 16:9)! We plan, we seemingly take the initiative, and then the Holy Spirit confirms in our spirit (our heart) the correctness of the application.
Mystery of mysteries is the way of our God! His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. But how magnificent He is, because of what Jesus has done, to enter into our realm so that we may APPLY His ways to our ways...
This is not the end - it is the beginning!
Now, there can be CHRISTIAN GROWTH. Now there need no longer be stifled, stunted Christians existing only on “milk” when many should be partaking of “strong meat” (Hebrews 5:11-14). However, everything said above, and everything pertaining to correct application of God Word are CONDITIONAL. We must be completely surrendered to Jesus Christ - He must be LIVING in us, and we in Him. This was part of His prayer for us long ago (John 17:20-23). If this is so with you and me, we are connected to right APPLICATION. He will write the application in us, into our very spirits (Jeremiah 31:33). Finally, there is one grand design by God for application of His word. We are to continually grow up in Christ (Ephesians 4:15)... so that we can have the very NATURE OF GOD dwelling within us, progressively changing and maturing us, perfecting us. This grand design is often ignored it seems.
Perhaps this is part of the reason so many remain babes in Christ.
“May grace (God's favor) and peace (which is) perfect well-being, all necessary good, all spiritual prosperity, and freedom from fears and agitating passions and moral conflicts) be multiplied to you in [the full, personal, precise, and correct] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. For His divine power has bestowed upon us all things that [are requisite and suited] to life and godliness, through the full, personal] knowledge of Him Who called us by and to His own glory and excellence (virtue). By means of these He has bestowed on us His precious and exceedingly great promises, so that through them you may escape [by flight] from the moral decay (rottenness and corruption) that is in the world because of covetousness (lust and greed), and become sharers (partakers) of the divine nature. For this very reason, adding your diligence [to the divine promises], employ every effort in exercising your faith to develop virtue (excellence, resolution, Christian energy), and in [exercising] virtue [develop] knowledge (intelligence), And in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety), And in [exercising] godliness [develop] brotherly affection, and in [exercising] brotherly affection [develop] Christian love. For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One). For whoever lacks these qualities is blind, spiritually] shortsighted, seeing only what is near to him, and has become oblivious [to the fact] that he was cleansed from his old sins. Because of this, brethren, be all the more solicitous and eager to make sure (to ratify, to strengthen, to make steadfast) your calling and election; for if you do this, you will never stumble or fall. Thus there will be richly and abundantly provided for you entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” - 2 Peter 1:2-11 (Amplified Bible)
APPLICATION - APPLICATION - APPLICATION!
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