Practice is always a part of making deep, lasting change. after all the commitments are made and the books are read, you must practice. After someone finishes two years of medical school, most of the next six to eight years is practice. In fact, they call what they do practicing medicine. Often, people will say when they haven’t been in church for years, they are not a practicing Christian. that is probably a correct way of seeing things. I am sad to say even many who attend church regularly may not practice much in a way that makes them more like Jesus.
Meeting regularly is an important practice, but by itself you can end up making this practice the goal instead of the means to the goal of Christlikeness.
We have all heard people criticize “Christians” for hypocrisy. People will complain “how can you think, talk and act like that as a ‘Christian?’ Don’t you know what the bible says about greed, racism, pride, etc.?” The true answer is often no. The average church goer doesn’t spend much time reading and trying to apply the bible. most church attenders, if they read at all, read books that talk about people’s opinions about the bible.
The practice of sitting quietly and letting the Holy spirit apply scripture to the heart is very rare. Even when people talk about how much they know about the bible carries no proof that they apply it in becoming more like Christ. Many use knowledge as a hobby, or worse, an ego trip. We are called to be doers or the Word not just hearers.
James 1:22-27 MKJV – But become doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if anyone is a hearer of the Word and not a doer, he is like a man studying his natural face in a mirror. For he studied himself and went his way, and immediately he forgot what he was like. But whoever looks into the perfect Law of liberty and continues in it, he is not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work. This one shall be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks to be religious among you, yet does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
The purpose of the practices of listening and learning God’s word is for renovation and transformation. It is to move you to care about orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James says too often that there is a disconnect between hearing and practice.
This kind of disconnect is what has led many well intended Christians to be on the wrong side of the gospel in History. We don’t have to look back far to see where people who called themselves Christians participated in evil. Slavery, manifest destiny, the holocaust, and segregation, where all justified by Christian leaders and churches. Even the legalization of abortion in the United States took place when the majority of leaders called themselves Christian.” All these movements were supported by people who called themselves “Christian”.
The tragic result was great evil on others and dishonor to the name of Christ. How does this happen? This happens when the Word is neglected as our guide.
Psalms 119:105 – Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
This Sunday, we will learn how to approach the scripture in a way that will keep you from darkness. I pray you will come and let the Holy Spirit speak through Gods word to your life.
Praying for change,
STEPS TO PREPARE AND HOW TO GET READY
Plan to come.
Prayerfully consider the following Scriptures and questions.
Invite someone to come with you.
Pray for me.
PREPARING FOR SUNDAY: SMALL GROUP QUESTIONS
- How much time in a day would be a reasonable start for practicing bible reading?
1Ti 4:13 Until I come, attend to reading, to exhortation, to teaching—
2Ti 2:15 Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.
- What is the purpose of knowing the bible?
Col 3:16-17 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
2Ti 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
- What things could hinder you from practicing daily bible reading?
- what was the last bible verse you memorized and what was it?
Psa 119:11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.
Psa 37:31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.
- how did Jesus use Scripture in life’s trials?
Luk 4:8 And Jesus answered and said to him, Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”
- Do you understand the doctrine of illumination?
Luk 24:32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?”
- Why do we need the Holy Spirit to understand and apply the scriptures?
1Co 2:14-15 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.
Eph_1:18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what is the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
- What does it mean to meditate on scripture?
Psa 119:97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
- Describe a time God spoke through a scripture to direct and change your life?