Christian Tagalog Blog: Application is everything

Believing is fine, intending too is fine, but it’s actually what you do that makes the difference. Application makes all the difference.

All of the applications, all the things that are in the Bible that tell us what to do—thou shalts and thou shalt nots— was given to people, who were already in a specific, defined relationship with God. In the Old Testament we find Old Testament kinds of things, like the Ten Commandments and all that stuff. All of those commandments, all of those laws were given to a group of people that were in a contractual relationship with God. And in the New Testament, it’s the same way. The New Testament is written to people who are in a relationship with God through Jesus.

The reason I make a big deal out of this is because, somewhere along the way the church got all confused about this and the church decided that all of these rules and laws that are in the Bible were for everybody. So, the church became very judgmental.

If you’re a Christian, you really need to pay attention. I’m going to talk about the importance of application, because the bottom line is this: At the end of the day it’s what you do that matters.

It’s what you do that makes a difference. Doing makes all the difference. Application makes all the difference. Believing is a good first step, but you can believe all you want—until you begin doing, there’s no difference in your life.

James 1:22, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

I. Hearing God’s Word without doing leads to self-deception.

Do not only listen to the Word.

* Note that James does not devalue hearing. Hearing the Word is important. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ (Rom. 10:17).

* James speaks of the fact that hearing alone is not enough. Hearing must be accompanied by action.

Mere hearing leads to self-deception.

In listening, we deceive ourselves. What do you mean, merely listening results in deception? What does it mean to be a merely listener and somehow deceive ourselves?

This happens every single Sunday in every single church. In fact, it’s happening right this minute, because in our church culture, there was a sense in which people thought, You know what, if I’m in the building I get credit.

James 1:23-24, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror. 34 For he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.”

* Those who listen to the word but do not do what it says are like people who look at their faces in a mirror and, after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like.

* A person that comes and sits in rows, listens to what he needs to do and go: Oh wow. Oh yeah. Oh wow, I need to do that. Oh wow, I need to stop doing that; oh wow, oh wow and then walks out the door and doesn’t do anything about it.

* Looking into God’s Word (hearing) reveals our true condition like a mirror shows our face. It shows where things are right as well as where things are out of order. It shows us for real.

* But if we look into the mirror (hearing) and then walk away and forget what we saw, not taking steps to address what the Word shows then we are self-deceived.

* We think we have benefited spiritually when in reality, we are worse off than before. We have only gained accountability for light from the truth which we don’t plan to act upon.

* Most of the time we are more committed to things that don’t make that big of a difference than we are to the things that make the difference.

* You’re deceiving yourself, because you show up at church and you look awesome, but you don’t behave awesome and you think you’re awesome.

There are some approaches to Scripture in our own day which result in being hearers only and not doers. They lead to self-deception.

* Relativistic hearers. Those who undermine the authority of Scripture by suggesting that “it may be right for you but it is not right for me.” It is the crowd who suggest the Word is no longer relevant for our day. You have your truth and I have mine.

* Superstitious hearers. Others treat the Bible like a magic talisman of some kind. Like the children of Israel who thought they would win the battle just because they had the ark of the covenant with them, some think that just because they read the Bible, they are going to automatically be blessed by God.

* Emotional hearers. No doubt the Word affects our emotions, but some come to the Bible seeking a certain kind of experience. They are more interested in feeling than doing.

* Theoretical hearers. These are the hearers who come to the Bible just to gain information. They emphasize Bible knowledge and theological correctness, but they aren’t so interested in practical godliness.

 All these hearers who neglect doing what Scripture says are self-deceived.

How many times have you and I had the experience of being exposed to Scripture through reading or a sermon, and with that exposure we began to sense conviction. The Word began pointing out things we need to change. We sensed an attitude we needed to get rid of. We felt convicted to start doing something we had not been doing. We sensed a need for a change in some relationship. As we listened to the Word, we began to say in our hearts, “I am going to do something about this. I am going to change. I am going to get things right with God.”

Then, the final song was sung, we left the church and we quickly forgot all the conviction and potential change we promised to make. How much spiritual good did that exposure to the Word of God do for us? Did we not leave in one sense deceived into thinking that we had done some spiritual good when we really left in worse shape than before?

 II. Hearing and doing God’s Word leads to blessedness.

James now contrasts the doer with the hearer. He describes the doer of the word in four important phrases.

James 1:25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

The doer looks intently into the Word.

* The word James uses pictures a person who stoops down to look at something. It is the image of a serious observation intent on understanding the thing observed. It’s like, I’m not going to leave until I get this right. That’s what he means. I’m going to stare until I get everything perfect.

* This is the person who undertakes serious study of the Word of God to develop deep understanding.

* Note James’ description of the Word of God. It is the perfect law that gives freedom. The Word of God is perfect and liberating. When we hear it and do it, the Scriptures set us free. Jesus told us the truth would Set us free.

When I think about all the dos and don’ts and thou shalts and thou shalt nots, I don’t think freedom. I think narrow. I think restrictive. I think I’m not going to have any fun, ever. I think I’m going to have to be poor.

How in the world does James get away saying, “if you look intently into the perfect law of freedom” or another translation says, “the law of liberty.” How could that be? Maximum freedom is found under God’s authority.

 James 1:25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

The doer continues to look intently into the Word.

* The doer of the Word is not content with a hit-and-miss approach to Scripture. The doer continues to look intently.

* This speaks of the person who persists in exposing his or her heart to the Word of God.

In other words, I’m going to keep looking at this. I feel guilty, I feel convicted, but I’m not going to take my eyes off of this mirror until I do something about it.

The doer does not forget what he hears. A doer does.

* Unlike the person who looks into the mirror and promptly forgets what he saw, the doer will not forget.

* The doer remembers what the Word reveals. I think in keeping our metaphor consistent, James is not just speaking about the information gained in Scripture. He is also speaking about how that information impacts the one who hears it.

* This is the final but critical step. A doer does. This is the person who puts into practice what he/she learns in the Word of God.

Look at the promise:

James 1:25, “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”

Where did James get such an idea? Why is he so insistent on putting the Word of God into practice? I believe that James’ words here are a reflection of the teaching of Jesus.

In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus concluded his sermon on the mount with a story. Look at it with me.

Mt 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Wow! Sounds a lot like James doesn’t it. Jesus also told us that it isn’t enough just to hear his words, we have to do them. The foundation of a godly and blessed life is not just hearing God’s word. It is doing God’s Word.

The question today is not whether you have heard God’s Word. You have heard it repeatedly. The question is whether you will do God’s Word. What are you going to do about it today? Will you hear it again and walk away and further deceive yourself? Or will you hear it and do something about it? Will you obey His Word today? The blessing of God awaits those who are willing to do His Word. Because at the end of the day, doing is everything—application is what makes all the difference.

About Ang blogger daw na si Iska

I am saved by Grace
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1 Response to Christian Tagalog Blog: Application is everything

  1. Planting Potatoes says:

    well put…..I need to hear this

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