Practical Application of the Word of God
It seems to me that we don’t often do the full analysis and comparison and contrast of God’s word as it applies to each of us as Christians that should be the natural result of continual prayer, Bible study, and meditation.
Instead, it seems we take a single aspect and make that the entirety of our understanding on a spiritual matter. While the single aspect may be correct within its context, it is, in the big picture, incomplete in terms of the whole and can lead to error and misunderstanding.
This error and misunderstanding can permeate our entire understanding of scripture, not only in concepts about our spiritual condition, but even in rightly dividing the word of truth because we misapply its meaning to fit into a construct we’ve created.
A recent example of this was a head-shaking misapplication of Ecclesiastes 1:18 – “For in much wisdom is much grief, and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.” – which was interpreted as meaning that people who have a lot of knowledge (intellectual vanity was the term used) cause a lot of sorrow.
We cannot just lift things in God’s word out of context and use them however we want. We just can’t.
In Ecclesiastes 1:18, wisdom, which is the theme of Proverbs (and it is godly wisdom), is connected to knowledge (knowledge of ourselves, knowledge of sin, knowledge of humanity’s corruption), so the sorrow here is something we experience (think of the second beatitude in Matthew 5 and what true repentance looks like in II Corinthians 7) as we see how spiritually broken the entire physical creation, including each of us, is.
The ideas of being broken and being unbroken simultaneously as our spiritual state is one of those spiritual matters that often is handled as one or the other at different times (for example, being broken is usually emphasized during the Passover/Days of Unleavened Bread season) but never together.
This, I believe, is detrimental to our spiritual walks, because the implication is that we can only be one or the other, while God’s word clearly says we have to be both at the same time.
The distinction is between what must be broken in us and what must be unbroken. But they are simultaneously a part of us, not an either/or condition.
Let’s take a brief look at what must be broken in each of us and what must be unbroken in each of us.
What must be unbroken in you and me as Christians?
Our eternal commitment to be faithful and obedient to God and Jesus Christ, which we agreed to at baptism, no matter what anybody else does or doesn’t do, no matter what life throws at us, no matter what it costs us.
That is why our foundation must be the word of God (the Logos) alone, and we must be totally anchored to that foundation.
Christ talks about how to be unbroken in our commitment to Him and God the Father in very clear terms in Matthew 7:24-25.
But to become like God and Jesus Christ, each of us must be broken too. This is an inside-out brokenness that has to take place as we are transformed by Jesus Christ through God’s spirit into the spiritual image of God.
That transformation is the process of repairing us spiritually in this life and then doing a complete healthy transplant spiritually in the resurrection.
I always use the physical heart as a good analogy (and the heart, spiritually, is what must be broken from our way, which ironically is what makes us broken spiritually, repaired, and eventually replaced).
When a physical heart is defective and repaired – stents, bypasses, valve replacements, and pacemakers (which involve breakage, a lot of pain, and sometimes very lengthy recoveries) – the heart functions better most of the time.
However, there are still problems and the repaired heart never again functions as well as a healthy heart.
And if the things that led to the defects – lifestyle – are not abandoned and replaced with heart-healthy behaviors, then the repairs will do no good in the long run.
The same is true of our spiritual hearts. We are called with hearts that are defective because we’ve lived our way, with Satan instigating, instead of God’s way. Our spiritual hearts must be repaired.
Just like with physical heart repairs, our spiritual heart repairs involve breakage, a lot of pain, and a lifetime of recovery. Yet, like physical heart repairs, our spiritually repaired hearts never function as well as a spiritually healthy heart, which is why you and I are on the spiritual heart transplant list (along with the rest of humanity in time) when Jesus Christ returns.
So when we do a thorough analysis of scripture and do a comparision/contrast on the totality of our spiritual condition (both what it is, what God expects, and what must happen for us to be transformed into God’s spiritual image), then we see accurately that our commitment to God must be unbroken (that ability comes from God and not our own strength, but we must be anchored to God through His word) but, quite frankly, the rest of our physical lives internally (heart, soul, and mind) must be broken from our way to God’s way.
When we don’t look at both sides of this coin, we have incomplete understanding of what God requires and what He is doing with us through His spirit.
This is a single example of what we should be doing regularly in our relationship with God and Jesus Christ through prayer, Bible study, and meditation.
My hope is that this will prod each of us to dig more deeply into God’s word, asking God for wisdom, for knowledge, and for understanding, so that we understand as completely as is possible the deep things of God.