A few weeks ago, my friend and I were hosting our weekly small group in my home. Our small group this semester has focused on discussing the message notes from the previous Sunday’s service. As my friend Laura closed out our weekly discussion, she asked our ladies, “So what are we going to do with this information? If it doesn’t provoke change in our lives or if we don’t implement what God is trying to teach us, then church is just another form of entertainment.”
While everyone else started sharing what type of life application they were going to pursue with this week’s message, I sat quietly thinking of the magnitude of my friend Laura’s statement. Indeed, church provides many aspects of entertainment. It gives me a way to socialize, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and even puts me in a good mood when I’m leaving the service. But if we don’t apply His Word and these teachings to our everyday life, then we could have just as easily gone to the movies, watched our favorite TV show, or even attended a sporting event to experience the same string of emotions.
Thinking more about this, I was reminded of the Lord’s parable in Matthew of the farmer scattering seed:
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13:18-23
Beloved sister, which seed are you today? Have you fallen on rocky ground or good soil? It can be easy to let ourselves fall into the moment of enjoying God’s Word and perhaps even be entertained by it, but if we cannot apply it in life’s circumstances, including our guaranteed tribulations, then what good can it do us? The bible challenges us to not just let His Word drift in one ear and out the other, but instead hide and guard His Word within our hearts.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11
“For the word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12
So what can we do to fully implement and apply His Living Word that we encounter through church messages or our own Bible reading?
- Expose Yourself to His Word Daily
It’s difficult to apply what we don’t know. Exposing ourselves to His Word by reading it, listening to it, watching sermons, or having faith-filled conversations with others about His Word can provide platforms for understanding what He’s trying to teach us. If there’s a scripture that you’ve been exposed to at church or through conversation, challenge yourself to find additional resources to help you understand not only the meaning of that specific scripture, but of the context of the book or chapter of the bible that it comes from. Challenging yourself to focus on memorizing a set of scripture daily or weekly can further help you hide and guard His Word in your heart.
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.” – Psalm 1:1-3
2. Ask God to Show You Where to Apply These Teachings
Make a list of people in your life that come to mind when reading specific scripture. If it isn’t a specific person, make a list of specific environments that these teaching could be applied. For you, it might be your work place, an upcoming family get together, or an approaching vacation that will expose you to strangers or those that are in need. The scripture or teaching you’ve learned may equip you to show grace, forgiveness, or mercy to someone you … including yourself.
“Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” – 2 Timothy 4:2
3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to Guide You
Include in your daily prayers a request for the Lord to show you through the Holy Spirit how to implement His teaching that day.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” – John 14:26
“And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” – 1 Corinthians 2:13
Thank You for the Living Word that You have given us to guide us in our life. Lord I pray that Your Word isn’t used to entertain me, but to change. Lord, I pray that You give me people and circumstances in my life to apply Your Word, confident of Your grace and sovereign will that rules over us. Lord, use me as the willing vessel that I am to increase Your kingdom.
Thank You for your grace, mercy, and always for the salvation that You have given us. Amen.
~ Sheena Gregg