Open up and say "ahhhhh."
Updated: Jun 14, 2019
If I were to sit in years of dentistry classes, listen to countless lectures, read tons of books on the subject, and pass written exams, but never pick up a dentistry tool or looked inside someones mouth, would you consider me a dentist? Would you trust me to fill a cavity? Hopefully your answer is a resounding "NO!" Obviously knowledge alone isn't enough to qualify me as a dentist. It's the application of my knowledge to the PRACTICE of dentistry that would earn me the right to be a trusted dentist.
Knowledge without action produces nothing. Faith without action is dead. Better yet, faith without PRACTICE is ineffective. True faith is believing in a divine knowledge that must be applied to become beneficial, alive and life transforming. Often we can fool ourselves into thinking our faith is strong because we hold confidence in what we know, but our faith is ultimately weak because we don't have the confidence or desire to apply it. Jesus said:
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
Jesus didn't say, "Pick up your cross and memorize a bunch of what I say." No, He said, "FOLLOW me. Do as I do. Practice what I preach." True life is found in the application of His Word. The Word is His instruction manual that is most often counter-intuitive to how we are accustomed to living. It's a new knowledge, a divine knowledge to be put into practice. As it's applied, the Holy Spirit within us comes alive and His voice becomes more distinguishable. Old ways of thinking fade as the new way becomes front and center. This takes determination, desire and a belief that Christ is worth all that we can give. This is the mindset of true faith, commitment to be active followers of Christ by the leading of His Word and strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
My challenge for all of us is to take an honest look at our faith lives and ask, "How focused am I on the application of the Word to my life. Am I content with just knowledge and routine?" This isn't a condemning question but a convicting one. We all can grow in application and the good news it is never too late. God is patient, but His great purpose in calling us into salvation is this:
29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The only way to be conformed into the image of Christ is to apply His word which is the knowledge and source of our transformation. It's in this transformation that true purpose is found and the world encounters the love of Christ through us.
Pastor Russ Faillaci