Practical Application of the Word of God
A lot of us who say we are Christians don’t, in fact, practice true Christianity.
Instead, we seem to prefer a corrupted version that is a hodgepodge of human and organizational traditions (which have no scriptural basis and are, at times, in conflict with scripture), our own ideas and opinions (that cannot be substantiated through scripture and are, at times, in conflict with scripture), and elements that have been incorporated from a myriad of religious practices that are pagan in origin.
In other words, a lot of us who say we are Christians are instead like Israel during the time of the judges and like society today: “…everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”
What is a Christian? The simplest definition is that a Christian is someone who follows Jesus Christ. Notice the word follow. That means action: tangible, identifiable, and observable.
Anything less than this is hypocrisy.
What does following Jesus Christ look like? It is doing what He does, thinking like He thinks, speaking like He speaks, being like He is.
How do we learn these things about Jesus Christ so that we can apply them and be just like Him? The Bible. And only the Bible.
Not human interpretations of the Bible. Not traditions that cannot be found nor substantiated by the Bible. Not our own ideas and opinions of the Bible. Not cherry-picked variations of the Bible. Not twisted, spun, manipulated versions of what the Bible says. Not anything that anyone says about the Bible.
The Bible is what Christians are being judged against by Jesus Christ now. The Bible will be what all humanity will be judged against when their time for understanding and receiving God’s spirit comes.
There are many things in scripture that are simply beyond the limits of our human understanding, even with God’s spirit. It’s not for nothing that God says in Isaiah that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways.”
We as Christians can read this and still, by our actions and our words, not believe it. Anyone who claims to understand and know the Bible perfectly, God’s will perfectly, and God’s intent perfectly is lying. And we know who the father of lies is.
We should always, always be aware of these words spoken by Jesus Christ when we hear, read, or believe something that cannot be definitely – at best – or at all – at worst – proven from God’s word.
My dad, in a discussion with me when I was in my early 20’s and was asking him “but how do you know what is salvational and what is not?” about the Bible, gave me a guideline that has proven true.
There are many things that the Bible is very clear about in terms of what to do and what not to do (remove and replace). Those things are what God requires of each of us as Christians.
All the rest is for God to unveil in His way and in His time, but it is not required to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, which is our mission statement as Christians.
And it’s in this “all the rest” where many of us as Christians seem to lose focus and get off into the weeds and ditches where we are destined, if we don’t get back on the clear path of righteousness that God has definitively laid out for us in His word, to get lost.
It is hard enough and takes a lifetime in which we will never fully be able to do or be what God requires of us, as laid out in scripture.
For me, that is my focus. Because if I’m actively working toward what God says He requires of me in black and white in His word, I frankly don’t have time or energy to get all tangled up in the weeds or stuck in ditches. It takes everything I’ve got, along with God’s help, and I still fall short in so many ways.
So what does God require of us as Christians?
This list looks at some of the major areas of scripture where God tells us what He requires or these are direct commandments from God. The list is not exhaustive. It’s up to each of us to make that exhaustive list from God’s word for ourselves.
All of this matters to God. And if it matters to God, it had better matter to me.
One of the things that I do as part of my Bible study is that as I’m reading I classify what God is telling me (e.g., promise, command, action, etc.).
Often as I finish my Bible study, I pull those classifications together along with the scriptures – yes, I write them out – in a spiral-bound large notecard book – so that I have a big-picture view of a particular topic that I can think about, review, and look further into in my Bible studies.
It’s what works for me. Find a system that works for you. But get a system. It does no good to read God’s word – and I seriously question how much most Christians actually read it, since much of what I see and hear from those who claim to be Christians comes from other human beings – unless it becomes an continuous actionable part of who and what we are and are becoming.
A brief overview from scripture of what God requires of us as Christians includes:
Again, this is not a comprehensive list from God’s word of what God requires of us as Christians. But my hope is that it gets on our focus on what God wants and expects from us instead of putting our focus on what we think is important but cannot prove definitively or at all from God’s word.
The end result of our human lives as Christians – the goal and the purpose – as far as God is concerned is that we have His character. With godly character, God can perfect us in every other way through Jesus Christ’s transformation of us in the resurrection.
Godly character is the result of acting on what God requires of us, of being committed to Him, yielding to Him, obeying Him, being willing to be taught and changed by Him in what we think, what we say, what we do, who we are, what we are. It is a 24/7 active walk in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.
What does God require of Christians? Don’t let other people tell you what they think God requires of us. Go to the only source of truth – the Bible – and find out what God says directly to you and to me.
Look at what Jesus Christ – the I AM of the Old Testament and the Messiah of the NT – said and did. Follow Him.
If we need a gauge to determine whether or not we are doing what God requires of us, a few simple questions based on God’s word will help:
It’s time to sit down and spend some quality time every day with our Dad and Older Brother and to get to know them intimately. We won’t know whether what other people say about them is true or not if we don’t know them firsthand (discernment). We can’t know the difference between what is true and what is not if we don’t know them firsthand. We can’t verify or negate our own conclusions and opinions about them without knowing them firsthand.
Instead, we must know them. We must be like them. We must do what they do and what they require us to do.
This is what matters. If this is not the core of our belief, commitment, faith, and action, everything else is absolutely meaningless.