When I was pastoring full time, it was amazing how often there was an opportunity to put into practice the principles from God’s Word from a message I just preached, like God was seeing if I would “practice what I preach.” Well, you may recall, the subject of last week’s “Wisdom of the Week” was submitting our plans to God, with the understanding that He might have different ones for us, so we should include “Lord willing” with those plans. Would you believe, I again had “opportunity” to put that into practice this week.
First of all, we had “plans” to go to Oregon tomorrow to visit family and take in some of North Clackamas Christian School’s basketball games, since our son coaches and our grandson (a senior) is his point guard. But, talking with our son on the phone he suggested we postpone our trip since a lot of games are currently getting canceled due to the COVID pandemic. He felt that it may hit their school soon as well and we had best wait until later in the season. So, we changed our plans.
I have been speaking on the third Sunday of each month at Kootenai River Bible Church since they are without a pastor. Yesterday was the third Sunday, and we were about to head out when we got a call from a leader in the church asking if we could postpone until next Sunday because most of the folks were sick. So, we changed plans and attended Faith Bible, our home church. As the worship team began the service, the powerpoint showing the song lyrics for the congregation was not working and all that would show on the screen were the announcements for the week. The second worship song was a new one so we got to listen to the worship team sing it! Being the third Sunday of the month, it was also “Missionary Spotlight Sunday,” and the spotlight was on our local Pregnancy Care Center. The presenter had prepared a powerpoint which wouldn’t work so she had to just read her notes.
The key verse of that week’s “WOW” was, “The mind of man plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps” (Pr. 16:9). It is not wrong to plan–we should–but we also need to acknowledge that God may have another “plan” and we need to be flexible and accept His changes to “our” plans.
I often reminded people at the end of a service that the message wasn’t over yet; in fact it was just beginning as they walked out the door, for now we all had to put into practice what we had just learned from God’s Word. James, the half brother of Jesus, talked about that in his epistle, saying, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:22-25).
One of my favorite Bible teachers and speakers, Howard Hendriks of Dallas Seminary, often said, “God didn’t give us His Word to satisfy our curiosity, but to transform our lives.” But, for the transformation to take place, we need to put it into practice. We can read through the Bible, learn all about the purpose of each of the 66 books of the Bible, and even memorize verses, but it won’t change our lives unless we obey and practice its commands and principles. The Bible teaches us a lot about God (theology) but it also teaches us how to know Him through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and how to “consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Ro. 6:11) and how to “walk in newness of life” (Ro. 6:4).
It is important to be a “Bible-believing Christian,” but more so, to be a “Bible-behaving Christian.” IF we are to grow spiritually and be a positive witness for Christ and bring Him glory, we need to put into practice in our every-day life what we are learning from His Word. Scripture is not just for information, it is for transformation! Don’t just be hearersof God’s Word; be doers.