Application over Education

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. ‭‭James‬ ‭1:22-25‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
I love reading the word. I love how it takes me places mentally I wouldn’t have gone before, and when it challenges a thought I had, it makes me shift my momentum. I love it when I must rewrite a devotion because when I actually read God’s word, I come up with a different conclusion. I love the conflict and chaos that it creates in my life, and it’s such a disruptive force that it frustrates the daylight out of me. You are probably reading this and asking yourself, “What the heck is wrong with Kent today?!?!?” Rest assured everything is fine. You see, a vibrant growing Christian faith sounds like this. However, this is only half the equation.
You see, loving the word means nothing unless I am actually willing to apply it. The fact that it expands my mind forces me to utilize it sometimes in the exact same way I previously had to see how different it is today. It makes me stop running one way, and now I must crawl, walk, then run the other way. It balances my writing like Proverbs 27:17 (As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend). It makes for constant thought and debate in my mind and heart. However, the best thing about application of the word is when those things come out of me, and it actually changes others. It attracts them not to me but to God. This is the application of those things I have learned.
One can only love God’s law by using it actively. The Book of James is filled with lots of great words that challenge our beliefs in a healthy way (ex. Faith by works is dead – see James 2:17). In reading today’s verses, James makes the straightforward case of applying God’s law into our lives. I felt a personal gut punch reading “see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.” That is both humbling and convicting as I must acknowledge that I am not quite the man God would want me to be. Yet, it is also motivating as I strive to be better in my walk of faith, and with each step, God rewards me for my using what He has instilled in me. We have all heard the saying, “I can’t hear you because your actions speak so loud.” This is what we as Christians must always aspire to do. Our actions will always be a bigger indicator of our faithfulness to God. Thus, while reading the word is paramount, it means little if we are not able to translate into tangible change in our lives. Furthermore, it must be seen not for others to observe but for God to bless our each and every step that shows both submittal to His will and love for His teachings.
Jesus is the ultimate applicator. There can be no doubt of how great a teacher Jesus is, and even those who studied the laws of the Bible acknowledged Him as such. However, He at numerous times chose to apply His teachings in a way that showed a clear example for us to live a life devoted to Him. There was His telling the people without sin to cast the first stone to the adulterer. Then Jesus Himself as the only one who could have stoned her forgave her (John 8:3-11). Or what about when Jesus said to His disciples, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John‬ ‭15:13). Then He allowed Himself to be put on the cross so that we could have eternal life. So, what are we to take from all this? Quite simply, my prayer is that we take Christ’s example and focus on application over education. Amen‬‬‬‬‬.
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About Kent:
“I am what all Christians are: flawed and always growing. I am not immune to failure, and I don’t always do the right things, but I learn from my mistakes, and always show love to all who I know. Furthermore, through Christ I have joy knowing I have His grace even though I didn’t deserve it and His love even as I can’t imagine it. I have written devotion for the past 14 years using my life’s experiences both before and after being born again and focusing on its relevance to Biblical teachings and today’s culture.”

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