As I ponder something, I see a tendency towards this in my own life and the lives of many I’ve pastored for the past twenty years. I’m compelled to bring it to the light. We seem to have a growing gap between what we know from the Scriptures and what we apply in our everyday life situations. We get in a circumstance where tension rises up and produces hurt feelings. Instead of forgiving and speaking a blessing per Jesus instruction in Matthew 5:11-12, we simmer and smolder with unforgiveness and bitterness. We find ourselves in a marriage becoming a challenge. Instead of the husband loving unconditionally and the wife respecting unconditionally as they trust the Holy Spirit to work in their hearts toward one another, they justify hard hearted-ness and score-keeping of wrongs.[see Ephesians 5:21-33; I Peter 3:1-7] Others find themselves in a place of discouragement and the Enemy begins to intensify fiery darts of depression. They give in to their emotions and flesh, resulting in loss of daily energy and a life of defeat.[see II Corinthians 10:3-5; Ephesians 6:10-18]
We must learn to apply the Word of God in our daily challenges and battles. At the end of the “Sermon on the Mount”, Jesus compares two foundations and two houses. The first house is built upon the rock as a foundation. When the storms and floods came, the house stood strong. The second house was built upon foundation of sand. When the storms and floods came, the house collapsed! Jesus gave us the one difference between these foundations and the results they provide. The rock foundation are those people who know and act or obey God’s word. The sand foundation is simply the people who know the Scriptures but don’t do or obey them.
Let me offer a couple observations that will lead us to answers and solutions. As Christians, we are born of the Spirit and are to be filled withed the Holy Spirit each day. We live by the Spirit and walk in the Spirit. Ephesians tells us that as we walk by the Spirit, we will not carry out the deeds of the flesh. Romans instructs us to put to death the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit. Many people have a growing amount of head-knowledge, but still live primarily in their carnal, fleshly minds. We are to reckon the flesh dead each day and declare that we are alive in the Spirit/Christ each day. The Holy Spirit will bring back to our remembrance what the Bible says and we are to put the truth into practice by faith. When we believe, speak, and obey the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit empowers us and honors them in our lives.
Some have remarked to me, “that takes effort and I’m tired”. You will only get more tired until you go passively and apathetically to sleep. Others have said to me, “I feel fake when I do this because it’s not in my heart.” I say to them: faith it, don’t fake it!” It will never get any easier than right now. Call upon Jesus to fill you with the Holy Spirit. Then, pray Holy Spirit empower me to do the Word until that becomes my first response in every situation.
I would be most happy to hear from you. Send me your comments and questions. Let’s enjoy an on-line dialogue as we learn and apply the Bible together.
Learning and Living the Scriptures, Pastor Tony Nichols