1John 2:3 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.” NKJV)
I heard a sermon from a dear missionary who has faithfully served for over 50 years. He made a comment that struck me both as disturbing, and sadly truthful. He said:
“In the church today we have more Biblical knowledge and resources than at any other time in history and it is my experience that we also have less Bible living than I have ever seen in my lifetime”.
As a teacher I see the same thing often. We have unprecedented access to Biblical resources and our knowledge is at an all-time high. It is important that our living match our knowledge.
- Has the holiness in your daily life paralleled and grown with the Bible knowledge you enjoy in this culture of religious freedom, books, TV, tapes, churches and an endless well of teaching and resources?
- In looking at how you spend your time, is it obvious where your love is: the Word, or the world?
- In looking at your bank statements, is it obvious where your treasure lies: in Heaven or on earth?
- In measuring your thoughts, do you desire more of God or more of this life?
1John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life…. let’s ask some comparison questions as we continue to evaluate our “Bible living”. First, the lust of the flesh:
- Is your appetite for more of God’s Word and more intimacy with the Savior? Or for more indulgences (gluttony, sexual immorality, entertainment, pleasure)?
- Is there unconfessed sin or willing lust that you practice in your life? Movies? Internet? Food? Drink? Sex?
Lust of the eyes:
- Do you covet the things of God, or covet what others have that you don’t have?
- Do you allow yourself to view and soak in the sensual earthly lusts that surround you in this culture?
The pride of life:
- Do you long for recognition, accomplishment and prestige in the eyes of those around you? Or do you recognize the superior satisfaction that comes from obeying God, investing in heavenly treasure and being in right standing with God?
- Are you, honestly, more interested in what people think about you, or what God thinks about you?
To finish, lets look at some practical indications of “Bible living” taken from 1John:
- 1 John 2:3 Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.
- 1 John 2:10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
- 1 John 3:7 Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.
- 1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. 19And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him.
- 1 John 4:2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God
- 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
- and finally, James tell us: 1:22-27 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Are these verses characteristic of your daily life? If no, you may not be applying your Bible knowledge to practical “Bible living”. James calls that a “hearer” who is deceiving himself and not a “doer” who is blessed by God. Become a person who DOES God’s Word, not one who simply learns more of it. Let your “living” match your growing knowledge.
Father, help us to take our abundant resources of Christian knowledge and apply them to our daily living. Help us to hate evil, obey your commands and choose holiness over the lusts of our sinful nature. Forgive us for our failures in the past. Give us strength to “Bible live” today. Give us the faith to not worry about tomorrow. Amen.
Contemplation: Do Christian books, tapes or shows take the place of your Bible reading and pray? Does your spiritual maturity parallel the amount of Christian resources you have access to? Are you living what you are learning?
Application: It is a temptation of pride to become knowledgeable while our obedience lags behind. It is also easy to let Christian resources (books, tapes, TV, music) take the place of simple prayer and Bible reading. As your knowledge grows, evaluate your life. It should be growing in holiness as your knowledge about God increases.
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?