Beginning in Proverbs 19, the topic changes from contrasting a wicked/worldly life and a righteous/godly life to how to live out the God-honoring life. When preaching I always have to remember that it is one thing to share knowledge of the scriptures; quite another to give instruction on How to Apply the scriptures to our daily living. Knowledge in and of itself does not make life change. Wisdom the application of the knowledge is the vehicle to make life transformation. Just because I know about God doesn’t mean I fear or revere Him as My God. God’s Law given to Israel/Jews became a system of rules and regulations rather than a code of conduct for living. The Jews/Pharisees/Scribes missed the “Spirit or intent” of the Law and made keeping the Law the litmus test for righteousness. In the culture of society today we have a dual threat to holy living. First, the thought of “consumerism” – the idea that life exist for us to have pleasure without any accountability. Secondly, the ideological thought that a person/people “have entitlement” or in other words that they are owed a living or the expectations that they deserve whatever without any expectation of working or earning on their part the necessities of life. In American philosophy it is held that for every person there is the inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Happiness is now not just to be pursued – be an expectation that the “life of happiness” is an entitlement that should be provided to them by others without any obligation on their part to achieve such status.
As a pastor for some 20 plus years; there has been at times a disconnect between what people hear, say they believe and what the practice. If we say we believe something from scripture and don’t practice it then we really don’t believe what we say we believe. James tells us to be “doers of the word, not hearers only – deceiving ourselves.” If we believe scripture it becomes part of our living, and find application in our daily life – this is called conviction.
Again the believer in Jesus Christ is admonished to “walk in the Spirit” and they will not fulfill the lust of the flesh. The difference between believing scripture and living scripture is the space between our heads and our hearts.
Often living out our faith causes many conflicts, in our minds and in the world that sees us. In the world you will have persecution, but know that I have overcome the world. Jesus also said, if they listen to My words, they will listen to yours. As we live out our faith openly before the worldly and carnal, there will be and should be times of struggle and mind reasoning on whether we will be true to our profession of certain behaviors and beliefs. If our aim is to live successfully in this world, we will compromise on what our heart AND head tell us is right – I have said over and over to my congregation that salvation and Lordship of Jesus Christ has to mean more than a destination change. Salvation has to be more that just missing Hell, or the guilt for all our wrongs doings and sins. We must be prepared to live out the scripture according to the Holy Spirit within us. Yes it will mean that we are out of step with the rest of the world – in fact scripture warns us “Woe unto you when all the world approves of you.”
We are not to be of the world, yet we find our ministry and living IN the world. What a contrast and conflict – How do I live in the world without letting the world adversely affect me? It is difficult – walking by the Spirit, putting our daily lives in the control of Jesus – stay in the scripture, pray constantly, fellowship with other believers, attach to a bible believing God-Honoring church. Oh, I just gave you application of LIFE APPLICATION!