Application is everything

The Bible is just as applicable to our lives as it was to those who heard it for the first time.

James D. Roecker

What’s the big deal about the latest and greatest tech gadgets? Well, they’re new, stylish, and user friendly. Upgraded models offer much more than previous models. Smartphones combine numerous devices into one machine. New apps provide countless hours of entertainment.

It wasn’t always the case. Cell phone styles and capabilities were different ten years ago. Tech gadgets did not stay the same. Cell phones got bigger, not thinner. Then touch screens took over. GPS navigation was built in. Internet and e-mail now is a touch away. Smartphones do it all. Think of anything. There’s probably an app for that. Apps can wake you up, show you where to shop, log your exercise and calorie intake, and keep your to-do list. Apps even can supply daily Bible reading plans.

But apps can’t make you get up, control your spending, manage your diet, make you exercise, check things off your to-do list, or read your Bible daily. Application is important and significant. It’s what you do that makes a difference.

Some suggest applying the Bible is not a big deal. They say, “Shouldn’t I just read it?” Others don’t read it at all. They admit, “What I hear in worship is enough for the week.” But what good does hearing and reading the Bible do, if when you’re done, you don’t remember what God has said to you?

Applying the Bible is an ongoing challenge for every Christian, college students included. The schedules of our lives become cluttered with a never-ending to-do list. God’s passages of comfort in his Word might not come to mind easily in the thick of daily temptations and troubles. The father of lies convinces us that God’s Word doesn’t apply to our situations. And if we don’t apply it, the Bible becomes another book on the shelf, a collection of dated manuscripts that appear impractical. Satan wants nothing more than to separate us from God and to persuade us the Bible isn’t useful.

But we know the Bible isn’t just a normal book. The Bible is God’s inspired Word. It’s just as applicable to our lives as it was to those who heard it for the first time. That’s why Saint Paul gave this encouragement: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:9).

The God of peace is with us as we read his Word. The knowledge we glean from Scripture becomes the foundation for applying the Bible’s principles for our lives. God’s Word is solidified in our hearts by studying, memorizing, and meditating on what we have read. It’s how we apply it. The psalmist reminds us that the man who meditates on God’s Word is blessed.

But we are not alone in trying to understand and apply God’s Word to our lives. God given us his Holy Spirit to guides us in all truth. He’s our app. He moves us to take the words of James to heart: “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1:22). Application of God’s Word in our lives makes all the difference.

James Roecker, pastor at Divine Word, Plover, Wisconsin, does campus ministry work at UW–Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

This is the first article in a six-part series on life apps the Bible has given Christians.

 

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Author: James D. Roecker
Volume 103, Number 5
Issue: May 2016

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