He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me; and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.”
– John 14:21 (NAS)
Applying truth to my life or applying my life to truth: I was sitting in a semi-circle with five other friends yesterday who are pastors. I was explaining to them the nature of the “Growth Adventures” that I had emailed to them and was now explaining the purpose for creating this kind of study. One of the men asked me about one of my statements. I have heard this question on a number of occasions: “What is the difference between applying truth to my life and applying my life to truth”?
I smiled and offered this as context. We often talk about and ask how a particular truth should impact my life. What often happens is that people cannot think of anything at the moment or we theorize that it could possibly impact a particular area of life. The danger in those discussions is that the moment that we walk out the room we forgot about what we were talking about and nothing happens. Even if this discussion connects truth to very specific area of life that the Spirit of God places His finger on as the relevant application, it is incomplete. Only when we begin to apply our life to that truth (in other words I start being a doer of the Word and not a hearer only) is there proper follow through where we are obeying that truth in real life. Only then will I go deeper with God’s Word; only then can I experience the power of God to change me.
Going deeper into God’s Word. I know you have probably heard this comment before. It is usually a discussion that often circles around the way a pastor is preaching. For pastors, it usually feels like vultures circling high above the pulpit who are accusing him of watering down the Word and people are discontent with shallow or superficial messages that are not helping them go deeper into God’s Word. While I will be the first to say that pastors have a huge weight of responsibility to preach the Scriptures accurately, creatively and powerfully there is an equal responsibility on the side of the hearers too.
Bible College Lessons: When I was in Bible College we would have chapel each week and had all kinds of guest speakers, some good and some were not so good. For some, public speaking was not their call to ministry so it was more of a challenge in presenting their ministries than for pastors and preachers. What bothered me is that while a few of these guests were not always entertaining (and some were just boring) I was shocked at us as the student body. I found several people making fun of those people who were not very eloquent; others started working on school projects when others spoke. Some just talked with their neighbor and ignored them completely. This bothered me because it seemed we were very disrespectful. God convicted me and challenged me during one of those messages. I came to a conclusion that no matter who was speaking, regardless if they were very entertaining or the most boring person on the planet… it was my responsibility was to take whatever was served and find the meat. If they mentioned one text, quoted one verse then it was my responsibility to chase down that truth, examine my life before the Lord in the light of that truth, and walk out of chapel either under great conviction because of how God was speaking to me that day. It was my responsibility to hunger after God’s Word in such a manner that my experience with Christ was not dependent on who was speaking. If my heart was right with God it was my responsibility to go deep with God even if the message was drowning in boring rhetoric.
The verse above (John 14:21) would support this concept in part. The one who keeps and obeys Christ’s commands is the one who truly loves Christ. But notice the end of the verse: “and he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him, and will disclose Myself to him.” The word “disclose” means to reveal, disclose or become visible. It also has the idea “to make known, explain, or inform.” As we keep Christ’s commands He will reveal more of Himself to us. As I trust Him and show my love by being a doer of His truth then He will help me experience and know Him more deeply.
If you really want to go deeper with God’s don’t just look for more new information that you have not heard before. Go deeper by keeping and obeying His truth and Christ promises to reveal more of Himself to you – that is the perfect way to go deeper with Christ and to go deeper in His Word.