"This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." -Matthew 15:8
Say you're like me and have really oily skin that causes you to break out all the time. Eventually, you get tired of it, and you decide that it's time to make a change and to finally put an end to all this. So you open up your laptop and begin your research, You look at websites, blogs, read articles, watch videos, everything you can to learn about the problem you have and the best way to solve it, You spend two days gathering information, trying to find the exact source and solution to your problem, and finally come to a logical answer. You grab your car keys and head out to the store, getting the exact things you need. You get home, set your things on your bathroom counter, and never touch them again. Is that going to help your problem in any way? Of course not! So if we can't do that with skin care products, why do so many assume you can do that with the Word of God?
It's easy to study. It's easy to make a habit in which you sit down and read the Bible, gathering information and memorizing verses. In fact, these things are good. Acts 17:11 says, "Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the Word in all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily, to see if these things were so.", and in Romans 15:14, "I myself am satisfied about you, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, willed with all knowledge and able to instruct one another." However, knowledge isn't everything. 1 Timothy 4:16 says, "Keep a close watch on yourself and on those teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers." This is Paul telling Timothy to watch his actions, and watch what he says, so that he doesn't mislead others. This verse is Paul saying not only to study these things, but to act on them. In the very verse before it, Paul says, "Practice these things [teaching and reading in public], immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress." Not because we want everyone to see how good of Christians we are (Matthew 6:6-8) but because people will look to us as Christians, and we need to be practicing what we preach.
It's always good, important in fact, to study God's word. It's important to make the Bible a significant part of our days. However, what's the point in studying, what's the point in sharing the Word, what's the point of prayer, if we don't follow the Word we're studying or teaching (Matthew 7:1-5)? What's the point in praying for forgiveness if we have no intention of changing our worldly ways? Today I would like to encourage you to not only study the Word of God, but to find every way in which you can apply it to your life. Otherwise, are we really Christians?