Applying Truth to the Heart

Because I was recording all day yesterday I didn't post. Today, I have a treat for you! My friend Emily Duffey is guest blogging! I know you will really be blessed by her words of wisdom.

(James 1:23-24 NASB) - For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.

It is one thing to have a lot of head knowledge—to know theology, to know all the –ologies (theology, soteriology, demonology, Christology, et al) and the –ation nation (predestination, sanctification, justification, glorification). You may have much of Scripture memorized and be able to recite Romans 8 without missing a beat. Not only do you know all this, but you teach others about this as well! From the outside, you have it all together. What few realize is the walls of knowledge you have built are made of glass, and very easily shattered.

When life begins to rub the wrong way, how do you respond? Do you go back to that storehouse of theology you have learned, or do you try to work through it on your own? Have you thought about how you respond, honestly? Many women go to Bible studies and learn all this information, yet miss how to apply these truths when the going gets tough. Knowledge is set aside for emotional responses, and a pattern of living by emotions emerges. In very short order you’ve become merely a hearer of the word, but not a doer—you fail to put what you have learned into action.

So how do you apply the theology you’ve spent years learning? Is it practical to your day to day life? Is this book, this Bible, more than a history book, more than a book of stories of what God has done in the past? Does this book have any impact on your life today?

Look the passage from James 1. In verses 23-24, we learn that the one who simply hears the Word of God and does not act on the truth learned or apply the truth to daily living is as one who looks in a mirror and walks away, forgetting what he just saw. In verse 25, however, a contrast is given:

(James 1:25 NASB) -  But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.

This man doesn’t forget what he just saw in the mirror. He studies the Word of God, and abides in it. Webster’s defines abide as accepting or acting in accordance with something (such as a rule, decision or recommendation). He reads the Word, sees a command, and sets out to apply this truth to his personal life.
It takes intention to change thinking patterns to apply truth to your life. You have to go back through the theology textbook in your mind and learn to mine truth from those studies—how to apply what you’ve learned to everyday life. You learned the theology—now go back and learn the application, and more than that, start to APPLY IT!

You may soon learn you don’t know as much theology as you think you do! Take the time to study what you have already learned—and make sure you apply it. Knowledge without application is fruitless and a waste of your time.  You are speaking God’s truth, but don’t apply it to your life; you are a practical atheist in your actions while professing Christ with your mouth. In 1 Corinthians 13 the contrast of speaking with the tongues of men or angels, yet not having love is given—if this is you—if you have spoken God’s words, yet lack love—you’re considered noisy gong or clanging cymbal. Knowing truth isn’t enough—you must apply it to your day to day life. Study! Study hard! But do more than that—apply it. Let it take root in your heart, so you are able to say with the Psalmist,

How blessed are those whose way is blameless, Who walk in the law of the LORD. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, Who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; They walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts, That we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established To keep Your statutes! Then I shall not be ashamed When I look upon all Your commandments.  I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, When I learn Your righteous judgments. I shall keep Your statutes . . .  (Psalm 119:1–8a)