When I was ordained, Pastor Bruce St. Jean charged me with three things: read the word, do the word and preach the word. These things seem simple enough, but have proven to be more difficult than one would think.
Read the scripture not to justify what you think; read earnestly, seek to understand what the author [God] is conveying to us. Read to experience the emotion, the conflict and the lessons. Look for similar related verses. Investigate the period in history related to the verse. Reading the Bible in this manner is challenging and takes practice, but the rewards are well worth the effort. It will give you insight as to what the passage meant to the original audience and what it means to us today.
Don’t be lazy and just read what others have written, but use their writing to affirm or challenge your thoughts. Always check sources – especially on the internet.
Doing is even harder than reading. After spending time in scripture and being convicted of what God has said, you cannot continue life without seeking to apply the word. The real battle in doing comes from the realization that we were not following in God’s will in the first place. It also demands that we change (repent) and some things that need to change are not easy to give up. We humans are extremely good at find exceptions and the making the exception the rule. We can justify almost anything. We continue to practice what we know is wrong by a false belief that God can overlook our minor indiscretions, or that God loves us unconditionally. It is true that we are all sinners and we will never be perfect until Jesus returns. Does that mean we give in to our habits and stop trying to work out our salvation? Do we keep our eyes on the goal of becoming more Christ-like or surrender to the lie that we are what we are? You are better than your past but not as good as your future. We are called to edify one another as iron sharpens iron. Who are you investing in and who comes along side to help you be the person Christ intended? Doing requires accountability and commitment.
Sharing our opinion or only the parts we like, is a lie because it is the omission of the whole truth. Are you ashamed of the gospel? Do we talk about the easy parts and forget the rest? In these days of political correctness, we punish anyone who does not agree with the imagined consensus, the rule that protects the rights of the marginalized while abusing anyone who may not agree. Those who call for tolerance are the least tolerant to anyone who professes a different belief. When to have a different opinion is met with name calling, slurs and insults; freedom of expression and freedom of religion is lost. The one claiming to be bullied is now the bully.
God has given us a spirit of boldness and we should be willing even to face death for the sake of the gospel. I would rather offend man than offend God. Do not deny Jesus lest He deny you before His father.