Submit and Apply
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." -James 1:22
Have you ever been excited from your trip from IKEA and sat down to break open the four boxes your coffee table knowing you can only assemble it while being led through confusing instructions? I swear the designers and engineers love to consider how to frustrate their customers with the four different lengths of screws, tools that came from NASA, and the smallest dots on their illustrations to hint as to where you should tap the finishing nails. All I know is if I didn't have the guidance of the manual, I would still have four boxes duct taped together to resemble a coffee table. When it comes to God's word, it is the same principle.
We can be excited about opening up the Bible trusting that this is the way and it is the guide to steer our lives to take the fragmented and disjointed pieces and bring them together. Trusting that if we apply God's principles we will see freedom, renewal, and truth given by the Holy Spirit. But at times we seem to read a verse, or realize that the charge given is challenging, different, or that there isn't a desire because it calls for a surrender of self and a diverting from habits, attitudes, or values that the world and our own fickle heart is harboring in opposition.
However, the charge given by James is to not let what we receive from God's word to just settle in our ear drums, but to have it make its way to our mind for decision and our hearts for a desire to thirst for the same application in our day to day. God's word may give us the charge needed and the sobering understanding, but it is up to us to create and be the illustrations for how to accomplish it. (Perhaps that's why there are no pictures in the Bible?).
On this weekend wrap up, we can be charged with quoting part of this opening scripture as our mantra for the day with "Do what it says". If we can make the decision to be doers, then we need more often to be "Know-ers" of the Word. We can't do what we don't know and so that means that we need to understand what it is we shall apply.
My challenge is going to be praying for those who are in front of me. In Starbucks, the person in the grocery aisle, the irritated person on the phone. I will do what I know I am called to do and that is to love my neighbor. Even though this is a small way, I am submitting and applying.
I serve a God and I am empowered by the same Spirit who seeks for us to advocate on the behalf of others to have their hearts and minds be illuminated by the revelation of Jesus in all dimensions of their lives. If I don't get a chance to show you why, I will seek to pray internally and demonstrate externally for those who I come into contact with.
We do this not only for others, but for how this application will transform us. How we will start to emerge with a deeper desire and come to more decisions that compliment the work and will of the Father.
So much of life is accomplished when someone is a doer. Well, the same is true when we seek to be shaped into the image of Christ. We must do the work, accomplish the submission, and surrender to the application that we can't live the abundant life if we don't know what it is we are seeking to accomplish. Be a doer as you grow in your knowledge and understanding of the word.
Keep Looking Up!