Tuesday, March 20, 2007

"Just give me the application" (confession of a recovering legalist)

"Just give me the application. Tell me what to do." I just heard that phrase the other day from a dear saint in our church. This person didn't want to spend time in the nitty-gritty of the text, but just wanted to know what to do.

We often teach that in devotions, church, - all that good stuff - the main point is to "get something out of it" - to apply it personally to our lives. I do believe applying God's Word to our lives is basic, important, good. But there is a "but".

I really think that personal devotions and church are more about spending time with God than they are about getting good application. I'll save you from the whole story - but there was a controversy on the merits of going to church (I don't remember one sermon out of the 3000 I've heard) - until one man wrote in and said that his wife had fixed him more than 30,000 meals in their marriage and he couldn't remember a single menu - but they nourished him and gave him strength each day. I think just meeting with Jesus will nourish us - whether or not we apply something.

I see this Wednesday night - youth group - so many students come to youth group down (beat up emotionally, relationally, and spiritually). When they leave, they are ready to go back out and face the world - apart from any great application I may have tried to share.

I am a recovering legalist. I like rules. I follow rules well. Rules are so much easier than relationships. I'm learning all this stuff - slowly. I can confess that dancing is still one of those areas that I can really get upset over (the fact that other believer's don't take my stance on it).

Good old application so easily becomes a rule, rather than a relationship. I'm sure this dear saint wasn't trying to avoid the relationship. I know I've walked away from my devotional time without some "deep" application and felt like a failure. How foolish. The big question should have been, "Did I meet with God?" Instead, I want something to do (not content to just have spent time with Jesus (sounds like Martha and Mary - Luke 10:38-42)

I hope this is making some sense. Maybe I'm one of the few recovering legalists out there. I just know that I struggle with legalism big time. "Just give me applicaiton."


At 4:26 PM, Blogger B. Thomas said...

One of the most memorable moments in my spiritual journey related to "quiet times" was when Josh McDowell said in a workshop, "It may shock many of you to know that I don't have a quiet time every day."
Of course I was naive in thinking that spiritual leaders did the right things a lot more than the rest of us.
Anyway it was freeing. Now I never have quiet times! (just kidding).

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Who needs quiet times!!!


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