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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

How to Make the Bible Practical: Four Easy Steps

Practical—Actually doing something instead of only entertaining the idea.

Practical means putting theory into action. It’s okay to have ideas, of course. (I collect them!) But, it’s much better to put good ideas into practice.

This translates into every area of life.

Mostly, we want to be practical in our spiritual lives. The question is how. How do I convert biblical teaching into practical actions?

Let’s read one well-known Scripture passage and see what we can do to live it.

Proverbs 3:5-6—Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; 
and lean not unto thine own understanding. 
In all thy ways acknowledge him, 
and he shall direct thy paths.

First, we analyze what the verses mean. I like arranging them into short phrases. Look up the words you don’t quite understand.
  • Trust God fully and with everything.
  • Don’t trust yourself.
  • Ways means “journey.”
  • Acknowledge means “know.” Get to know God along my daily journey.
  • God will direct my paths.

Actions to take: Make a conscious effort to entrust everything in my life to God. Get to know God better. (I can do this best by knowing the Bible better, keeping a consistent prayer life, and watching God work in my life.) So, now I have a practical plan. I’ve boiled it down to two actionable points: 
  1. Entrust everything to God.
  2. Get to know God better.

What am I going to do, starting today? Put these two concepts into action. Here’s how.

Let’s assume you’re a thirty-year-old mother of two, ages five and three. You’re married, and you work full time. Your life is busy, to put it mildly. Your alarm rings at 6:30 a.m. The first thing you do is to ask God to help you this day. You commit your day—with whatever it holds—to Him. You make your bed, get ready, wake the kids, dress them, and you all have breakfast.

You take the kids out the door with you. (Hubby leaves in a different car.) As you drive and talk with two sleepy little ones, you thank God for them. You thank Him for your job, for the school and daycare, and for the way God has provided for you. As you begin work, you are already in an attitude of restful praise. The day has begun.

Today, a very grouchy person made her appearance. “Lord, help me” was your quick prayer as you met her scowling face. He did, and He helped you resolve her issue. Several “interesting” events later, and it was almost time to wrap up things at work for the day.

After picking up the children, you planned supper as you drove home. “Lord, what would taste good to my husband tonight?” Immediately, you thought of picking up a rotisserie chicken and making real mashed potatoes and green beans to go with it. Yum! “Thank you, God!”

On the way into the grocery store, the five-year-old stumbles and scrapes her knee. She starts screaming louder than you would have liked. But, you’re letting God lead you. You kneel down, pick her up, kiss her and hug her. In no time, she has a beaming smile, especially since you told her she may pick out some pretty Band-Aids for her boo-boo.

Rotisserie chicken at home, you peel potatoes and have them boiling before Hubby is home. You stir-fry fresh green beans with a little bit of garlic and olive oil and make gravy from the chicken broth and with a little help from a bullion cube. After dinner, there’s a lot to do, but your husband and kids are fed and happy, and you are too. You put a Christian CD on and hum along as you clean up the kitchen and Hubby plays with the kids.

After the kids are in bed, you open your Bible and ask God to teach you more about who He is. You read these verses: John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose (John 1:26-27). You notice especially the part about John the Baptist not being worthy to unlatch Jesus’ shoe. You pause and think about how John was called from before he was born to announce Jesus. Yet, he said he was unworthy to unlatch Jesus’ shoe. “What does that make me?” you think. I am more unworthy than John! What does this teach me about Jesus? He is great! Jesus is so great! Your heart breaks into songs of praise.

You spend some time with your husband, and you sink your head into your pillow, thankful for another day.

That’s being practical. That’s how to live Proverbs 3:5-6.

What verses would you like to put into practice, starting today?

Try my simple method:
  1. Break the verses up into phrases.
  2. Look up any word you don't quite understand.
  3. Summarize the teaching.
  4. Put it into action, starting today.

God's Word is transformative and practical. 

Live some biblical truths today!

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