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Devotional for Friday, July 25, 2014

Obedience Applied

Today's Scripture: Luke 8:21
"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it."
Read it online at the Bible Gateway: (NIV) (NASB) (KJV) (The Message)

Bringing ourselves under the transforming influence of the Word of God means much more than just acquiring knowledge about the contents of Scripture. In fact, the mere acquisition of Bible facts or doctrinal truth without application to one's life can lead to spiritual pride. As Paul said, "knowledge puffs up, but love builds up" (1 Corinthians 8:1, NIV). By contrast Paul also spoke of "the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness" (Titus 1:1, NIV).

What is the difference between these two concepts of Bible knowledge? In the first instance the Corinthians were using their knowledge in a selfish and prideful way. They were "looking down their noses" at people with different convictions from theirs. On the other hand, the knowledge leading to godliness is knowledge of the Scriptures that is being applied to one's life and results in godly behavior.

One of the banes of present-day evangelical Christianity is the way we sit every week under the teaching of God's Word, or even have private devotions and perhaps participate in a Bible study group, without a serious intent to obey the truth we learn. The indictment of the Jewish people God made to Ezekiel could well be said of us today: "My people come to you, as they usually do, and sit before you to listen to your words, but they do not put them into practice" (Ezekiel 33:31, NIV).

Our tendency seems to be to equate knowledge of the truth, and even agreement with it, with obedience to it. James said when we do this we deceive ourselves (James 1:22). This is especially true when we focus on the more scandalous sins "out there" in society to the neglect of the more "refined" sins we commit.

The text for this devotional comes from the award-winning NavPress devotional book Holiness Day by Day by Jerry Bridges. For more information or to order a copy, visit the NavPress website.

Visit The Navigators Resources website for more devotional resources.

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