There have been so many time these past few months where I read scripture or listen to a sermon and think, "Ok, I am reading the words, I am listening to the message... HOW do I apply this to my life RIGHT NOW?? I need this to be applied, but I don't know how to do it."
Isn't that the million dollar question? I think all Christians struggle with the application of the Word to every day life. Reading is easy, thinking is easy.... Application? Not so easy.
I heard in a sermon a while back that when Jesus was walking on the water, he meant to pass the disciples in the boat. He was intending to walk past them, but they cried out to him. Then he stopped the storm... Long story short.
Matthew 14:24 NLT "Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. (25) About three o'clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. (26) When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, "It's a ghost!"
(27) But Jesus spoke to them at once. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Take courage. I am here!"
Jesus is just waiting for us to cry out to him. The Bible tells us we are going to go through really hard times, so why are we so surprised when they come? It doesn't say "If you face trials" it says "WHEN you face trials."
James 1:2-4 NLT "When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. (3) For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. (4) So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing."
WHEN troubles come your way. Not if.
We (my family and I) are going through those trenches right now. We are being tested. We are being stretched. Sometimes we pull through victorious, and sometimes our doubts get the best of us. Every day is a battle. All we can do is try to arm ourselves the best we can with His armor and let him teach us how to survive this hardship.
Ephesians 6:13-18 NLT "Therefore, put on every piece of God's armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. (14) Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness. (15) For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. (16) In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. (17) Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (18) Pray in the spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.
Putting this armor takes time. It takes persistent time in God's word and memorizing the contents inside. You cannot possibly be fully armed if you don't dive into the word yourself and do your own study. Relying on Pastors and peers to do this for you is not sufficient. Would you ask your friend to put your clothes on you everyday or brush your teeth? No, of course not. You do this for yourself, because it is your body you are taking care of. It works the same way. Read for yourself, study, memorize. One method I love to use is Kay Arthur's SOAP method. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer.) I really encourage you to try it. I cannot go a day without Gods word. Pray for God to give you that hunger so you can keep going even when you don't understand it or know where to start! :) If you ask God for wisdom, he will give it to you. But you have to take that first step and crack the cover.
Matthew 7:7-9 NLT "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened."
Keep seeking God. (I'm writing this for ME.) Keep seeking. Keep seeking. Keep asking. Keep reading. Keep loving. Keep worshiping. Keep praying. Keep praying. Keep praying.
Hard times come. They will come. They might be here now... God is always here and always ready for us to call out to him. He loves us beyond measure and comprehension.
Romans 8:28 NLT "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."
Kind of a short thought today... But I wrote this more for me than anything else. What do you do when hard times come? What are some of your favorite passages you keep in your back pocket? Share them with me!
So much love. XO