“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV)
Did you know studying the scriptures can be dangerous? In fact, the results of Bible study could be disastrous. Sounds strange, I know. But God intended for us to apply the scriptures to our lives, not just read it. The Bible is about transformation, not just information. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24 NIV).
God’s Word is like a mirror. Many of us, however, tend to ignore the Scriptures because we know this is true. If you look into the Word of God, into the mirror of the Word, soon you see exactly what you look like, and it is not always pleasant.
The most helpful thing we can do in our prayer life, therefore, is to take a moment at the beginning of our prayer to face what the Word of God tells us is wrong in our lives — our lovelessness, our sharpness, our caustic attitudes, our tendency to defend ourselves and put down others. This is where Daniel begins. All this is summed up in one great word found many times in Scripture, the word, repent. When we repent we begin to set things right in our life; we begin to deal honestly with ourselves and with others.
Applying God’s Word is vitally important. So why is it important that we apply God’s Word to our lives?
1. Knowledge produces pride if we don’t apply truth to our lives. 1 Corinthians 8:1 says, “Knowledge puffs up while love builds up.” We’ve all seen people who know the Bible backward and forward, but they’ve never let it seep into their lives. They use the Bible as a hammer to pound on other people. We can be the most evil, mean-spirited, critical, judgmental people we’ll ever meet — if we never take the extra step and apply the Bible to our lives.
Knowledge without application produces pride. It’ll “puff” you up without a love-based application. It’ll cause harm, not help.
2. Knowledge requires action. James 1:22 says, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” What a person knows should find expression in what he or she does. We’re deceiving ourselves if we think we’re growing simply by taking notes on a Bible study. God’s commands are not optional.
3. Knowledge increases responsibility. James 4:17 says, “Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it”. With a deeper knowledge of Scripture comes a stronger judgment if we fail to apply what God shows us. When we start studying the Bible, God begins to show us areas of our lives that need to be changed, and he calls us to greater and greater responsibility as he does that.