Back in high school, I was kind of a "faker" when it came to following Jesus.
My faith was just a side-project for occasional self-improvement. I would say I did care about serving other people, but I cared even more about what those people thought about me. Daily habits of obedience and discipleship like studying Scripture and praying were fairly nonexistent.
I could think of every excuse in the book to avoid having to sit down and be "alone with God" as they say. But, the number one excuse I would use over and over to defend myself against...well, God, was that I did not think any Scripture was "applicable to real life." I was personally convinced that most of Scripture was full of boring historical records and staunchly unrealistic expectations. Boy, was I wrong.
Praise God for sending some well-timed brothers and sisters in Christ to convict me of my apathy, lack of knowledge, and lack of obedience. It was shortly after starting my freshman year in college that I had my eyes opened to the depth and the applicability of Scripture in my life.
Have you ever found yourself falling into this thought-trap that the world has presented to us over the years? "The Bible is just a dusty old rule book," some peers might say under their breath. Or those in the higher education community may say things like, "Oh yes there are a few good stories in the Bible, but not much applies to our current cultural context anymore. Society has moved on." Sound familiar? As we hear things like this more and more often, it is easy to feel discouraged and confused.
Take it from a fellow skeptic, those voices you hear are wrong. Scripture is full of incredible power that the Lord Jesus can and will use to change your life from the inside out. In order to help you find a place to start (or maybe restart), I've chosen 3 of my personal favorite passages of the Bible that are highly applicable and relevant to living our everyday lives. (**Disclaimer - I know there are many, many, many more passages that could have been chosen for this list. All of Scripture is relevant and applicable to life in some way. This is just a start.)
1) Matthew Chs. 5, 6, and 7 - The Sermon on the Mount
This was one of the first major sermons that Jesus gave during his ministry on earth. The audience listening to this sermon when Jesus taught on the mountainside was made up of several thousand people, many of them very poor. Some of them were just the "average-joes" of the surrounding community, like you and me. Jesus' goal in sharing these powerful messages was to take what those listening had been taught from their childhood years (The "Old Law" since many of them were Jewish) and expand upon what God had originally intended these laws to communicate. Each of chapters 5, 6 and 7 are dissected into small paragraphs of truth-filled instruction which are profound and applicable in our lives today.
2) The Book of James
James was the first book of the Bible that I ever read for personal study, as encouraged by that group of believers during my freshman year of college. James, who is the half-brother of our Lord Jesus and thus an eye-witness to many of his teachings and miracles, writes in a style that is easy to understand and to relate to. He encourages the reader not to be a passive "hearer only" but rather to be an active doer of what we learn in Scripture. James beautifully levels all readers' hearts without regard to social status, creating a collection of wisdom that can be applied to life beyond any hierarchy or cultural context.
3) The Book of Proverbs
Written by King Solomon, the son and heir of famous King David, along with other wise men of God, this book provides 31 solid chapters of simple bite-sized pieces of advice and wisdom. Sometimes, when explaining the Proverbs to those unfamiliar, I jokingly describe them as the "Christian Fortune-Cookie Inserts." Usually ranging between 1-3 sentences each, the Proverbs provide deep spiritual advice for how to live a life that is pleasing to God. I assure you, there is a Proverb that can apply to nearly any topic you can think of.
If you've ever felt that twinge of apathy in your soul, or that pang of doubt in your mind, I want to encourage you to jump-start your daily devotional time with one of these three passages. Speaking from my own walk with the Lord, I can personally attest to the life-changing power and worldview-altering wisdom you will encounter as you read. Our Lord Jesus Christ is alive and is working in this world through the Church and through his Holy Spirit. Don't let the world tempt you into setting that old book aside!
Please share this article with a friend to encourage them, or leave us a comment below to tell us your favorite application passage!
-written by Chase Cotten, Media Director @ IDES