Failing to apply the truth of Scripture is like a chef gathering everything possible to prepare a wonderfully fulfilling meal, then leaving everything on the kitchen counter! No one is fed and the meal is wasted. Observation, interpretation, and correlation combine to prepare a nutritious spiritual meal—but it’s incomplete if application is omitted. Application adds the final spices then delivers it to the waiting guests.
Whetting Your Appetite: Getting Started
In the beginning of the New Testament book of James we find one of the most potent metaphors for the importance of applying Scripture to our lives. James compared the Word of God to a mirror reflecting the unguarded truth about our lives.
By the way, applying basically means obeying. When we apply God’s Word it simply means we are doing what God tells us to do.
Following Through on Applying Truth
Like a grand concerto, Psalm 139 builds to a powerful crescendo as the psalmist applies these truths personally (notice the change in pronouns in verse 23). David was submitting himself to the most vulnerable and exacting scrutiny by the Holy Spirit when he prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you (literally, the original words are “any way of pain”), and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (Psalm 139:23–24). Such transparency! Such confidence and trust in the Lord! No wonder God called him “a man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22)!
“Search me, O God, and know my anxious heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Think about it: When you apply this prayer to your situation, be ready for the Spirit to reveal “any way of pain” within you.
Below are some prompts to help get you started in the process of application:
- I need to ____________.
- I now realize ____________.
- I’m sorry I ____________.
- Lord, please ____________.
Some Additional Tips on Applying Truth Practically
As you approach your study of the Scriptures, either in your personal times with the Lord or during your times of ministry preparation, keep these following questions in mind:
- Is there an example for me to follow?
- Is there a promise I need to claim?
- Is there a prayer I need to offer?
- Is there a sin I need to confess?
- Is there a command I need to obey?
- Is there a habit I need to break?
- Is there an attitude I must change?
- Is there a challenge I need to face?
- Is there a person I need to forgive?
- Is there a person from whom I need to seek forgiveness?
Here’s a closing prayer to prompt you in your own expression of gratitude to the Lord!
Lord, I’m so thankful for this lesson on the importance of application. I desire not only to hear Your Word, but also to apply what I’m learning from it. Thank you especially for Jesus, my Savior, who provides a living example of obedience and surrender to Your perfect will and Your powerful Word. In His great name I pray. Amen.
To learn more, see the Searching the Scriptures study.