What does it mean to apply something? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following answers:
- To put to use, especially for some practical purpose (He applies pressure to get what he wants).
- To bring into action (apply the brakes); To lay or spread on (apply varnish); To put into operation or effect (apply a law).
- To employ diligently or with close attention (You should apply yourself to your work).
- To have relevance or a valid connection (This rule applies to freshmen only).
- To make an appeal or request, especially in the form of a written application (apply for a job).
So, how do we apply God’s Word to our lives? Is it not good enough just to hear it once a week at a local church service?
We know that it is important for us to know what the Word of God says, but it is equally as important, if not more so, to obey and dowhat the Word of God says.
God Compels Us to Apply His Word
We might censure our ancestors for their faults and failures; however, we are two times as blameworthy if we are guilty of repeating the very botches that we perceive as shortcomings.
Time after time, we are so prepared to coordinate God's message to others that we cannot discern how it affects our own lives. We need to ensure that we will accept our own guidance as we instruct and lead others.
The present tensions make it barely noticeable or fail to remember the teachings of the past. However, Paul advised us to recollect the examples that the Israelites learned about God so that we could refrain from rehashing their mistakes.
The way to remember is for us to concentrate on the Holy Bible consistently (ideally day-to-day) so these illustrations remind us of how God wants us to live. We do not have to duplicate the same way that they did.
Did Paul imagine that the world would end soon? Neither Paul nor even Jesus himself knew when the End Times would come. Only the Father knows (Mark 13:32). We have been living in the “last days” since Christ ascended to heaven.
We are to be prepared for His return, which could come at any moment. Anybody near Christ ought to feel, as with Paul, the criticalness of spreading the gospel to a lost and dying world.
Paul's assertion about the Thessalonians in this verse probably gave them immense encouragement. He communicates faith in the Lord that they are doing and will keep on doing what he orders.
This certainty was not in view of human legitimacy. It was based on “in the Lord.” Left to themselves, the Thessalonians would not have the ability to complete Paul's orders, yet the Master was working in their lives to assist them with having a life of righteousness.
Paul urged the Philippians to “work out (not work for) your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12); however, he added, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
However, a relationship with God does not ensure a daily existence liberated from conflict or contention. In his letter to the Romans, Paul pointed out a circumstance in the congregation in which believers had various feelings about what they could eat.
There were some that believed that they could eat whatever they wanted, which probably included the meat that was proposed to idols, without having a feeling of remorse.
On the other hand, others went without eating meat and were looked upon as being “weak in the faith” (Romans 14:1). Each group obviously condemned the other.
In any case, Paul asked, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand” (Romans 14:4).
We can have faith in the Lord to complete His work in our lives and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in the faith.
Application Is Practicing Our Knowledge
The light of the truth of Jesus is uncovered to us, not covered up. However, we will most likely be unable to see or to utilize all of that truth at the present time.
It is only when we set up the teachings of God into regular observance that we will comprehend and see a greater amount of that truth.
The truth is actually clear, yet our capacity to comprehend is blemished. As we comply, we will hone our perceptiveness and broaden our comprehension (James 1:22-25).
These verses essentially imply that we are held accountable to utilize well what we have. It does not make any difference the amount of what we possess or how we manage it.
In Hebrews 5:11-14, these Jewish Christians were juvenile. Some of them should have been instructing others, yet they had not applied the rudiments to their own lives.
They were hesitant to move past the deep-rooted customs, longstanding teachings, and talking of the fundamentals.
They would not have the ability to comprehend Christ’s priestly role except if they moved out of their contented position. Dedication to Christ moves individuals out of their usual range of familiarity (comfort zone).
To develop from a Christian “baby” into Christian maturity, we need to increase our spiritual perceptiveness. We should prepare our minds, our faculties, and our bodies to separate right from wrong.
We need to learn to perceive enticement before it controls us. Can we tell the difference between the correct utilization of Scripture from the wrong use of it?
Our ability to dine on the more profound knowledge of God (“strong meat”) is based on how we grow spiritually. Time and again, we desire the full table of God before we are equipped enough spiritually to process it.
As we mature in the Lord and set up a routine of what we have mastered, our ability to comprehend will prominently develop.
Responding to the Question ‘So What?’
Obeying and serving God will not decide our eternity in heaven. Our “works” do show that our dedication to God is genuine. Our loving service of “works” is not a replacement for our salvation in Christ.
As I have brought up in a previous article, how might we be certain that we have a place with Christ? This passage of Scripture gives us two methods for knowing. A Christian ought to do everything Christ says for him to do and to live as Christ directs him to live.
And what does Jesus tell us to do? John answers, “Believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another” (1 John 3:23). Genuine Christian faith brings about loving conduct. To that end, John says that our conduct can assure us that we are the heirs of Christ.
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
The instruction to walk “as he walked” or living as Christ does not mean picking 12 supporters, performing miracles, or dying on a cross. We cannot duplicate the existence of Christ.
He was God's Son, and he played a unique part in dying for the transgressions of humanity. For us to live today as Christ did, we should follow his lessons and his illustration of complete dutifulness to God the Father and cherishing service to other people (1 John 3:23; John 14:23; 1 John 4:12).
For further reading:
What Does it Mean That the Word of God Is Alive?
How Can Jesus and the Bible Both be the Word of God?
Why Is 'In the Beginning Was the Word' Such a Powerful Statement?
Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/pcess609
Chris Swanson answered the call into the ministry over 20 years ago. He has served as a Sunday School teacher, a youth director along with his wife, a music director, an associate pastor, and an interim pastor. He is a retired Navy Chief Hospital Corpsman with over 30 years of combined active and reserve service. You can check out his work here.