by Rick Warren — May 11, 2020
“Be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”
James 1:22 (ESV)
What is application? It’s when you take the truth of God and apply it to your life.
Satan doesn’t care if you study the Bible—as long as you don’t apply it to your life.
Jesus taught the opposite: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them” (John 13:17 NIV).
Just knowing God’s Word isn’t enough. You experience God’s blessings when you do what God’s Word says.
The Bible tells us in James 1:22: “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only” (ESV).
So how can you become a doer of God’s Word? How can you learn to apply it to your life? When I’m applying Scripture to my life, I like to write out the application. My applications have four characteristics.
First, an application needs to be personal. That means it’s about you—not your spouse, kids, neighbor, or coworker. Your life is the only one you can change. So your application will start with the word “I,” not “we” or “you.”
Second, it needs to be practical. It should be something you can actually do. It might be an entire project or a simple action step.
Third, it needs to be possible. If you choose an application that you aren’t actually able to do, you’ll get discouraged. For instance, you might say, “I’m going to read through the entire Bible every single day.” That’s highly unlikely, if not impossible. Instead, you can choose to read one chapter from the Bible every day.
Fourth, it needs to be provable. This means that it needs a deadline. Take Philippians 2:14 for example: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing” (ESV). You might write this personal application: “Lord, I need you to help me not to grumble at work. I’m going to stay accountable by asking a friend to check with me next week to see if I did this.”
So, the next time you read a passage of Scripture, don’t be satisfied with just studying the passage. Instead, apply it by making it personal, practical, possible, and provable. Then you’ll start experiencing the blessings God promises to people who are doers of his Word.