It Takes More Than a Download

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This morning I learned a spiritual lesson from my computer. It was time to get an update for iTunes (one of the important “necessities” for worship pastors these days). I thought this update would take just a couple of minutes to take effect, but no! It took several minutes for the online updater to figure out what my computer had. Then it took ten minutes to download the software. Then another 5 minutes to install the software on to my computer. Then I had to restart my computer for the new changes to take effect (another 7 minutes to close all my programs and then the rebooting process).

I know, some of you are saying, “Doug, you need a new computer!” But that’s not the lesson. And, no, the lesson I learned wasn’t about “patience,” either – although I did use the time of this update to make coffee, breakfast, read the news on my phone (that sounded weird), and take out the trash.

The spiritual lesson I learned from my computer was about the process it takes to assimilate Biblical principle into daily life. In our “information-oriented” world, it’s easy to think that once we know something, we can apply it to our lives. We hear a great sermon. We read a great book. We get some great advice. We read a great passage of Scripture. And now that it is in our “head,” moving it to our actions and habits is easy.

Wrong.

Just as it took my computer several steps before I could actually use the new iTunes applications, so it takes several steps before Biblical principles become “whole life worship applications.” It’s important to know that because it is easy to get discouraged when our attempts to live the right way, do the right thing, or say the right words get short-circuited by circumstances, distractions, and ingrained habits.

So here are some steps I see in the process of assimilating truth into whole life:

1. “Download” – we need to hear, see or read Biblical truth. One of the values of attending regular worship service is that you get receive many “downloads” of God’s truth in different ways: preaching, worship songs, prayers, fellowship, serving. We also need the “downloads” provided through personal worship (reading and meditating on Scripture), good books (I’m reading a great book called “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero), and spiritual friendships (small group community, accountability or mentor partnerships). We need good input in order to have good output.

2. “Install” – this is usually the most neglected step. “Installing” is the time needed to reflect and pray on how these principles work specifically in our lives. We think that once we’ve heard it or read it, we automatically apply it. That is extremely naïve thinking. Plus, we often don’t fully understand what our souls can or cannot do. Silence and reflection help us to see the ways Biblical truth applies to our situations. Prayer allows God to speak to our hearts on how we can apply it to our lives. Scripture memory is a good tool to establish the importance of why this principle is necessary to my following Christ as Lord.

3. “Reboot” – just as I need to reboot my computer before I can start using new applications, we need to reboot our lives to apply God’s truth into our daily circumstances. This spiritual reboot involves re-aligning ourselves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ (it’s amazing how easily we take back the throne of our hearts – pathetic, actually). It also involves asking the Holy Spirit to fill us and empower us. Thirdly, the reboot involves anticipating specific ways in the upcoming day to apply this truth (like showing love to a co-worker, or praying for patience during a long work meeting, or being present with my family when I come home).

Download, install and reboot. This is the high tech version of Jesus and the apostles’ words when they command us to not just be hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word (Matt 7:24, James 1:22). It puts feet on our faith and enables us to be Whole Life Worshipers of our God.

(#peterscazzero #emotionallyhealthyspirituality #applyingbiblicaltruth)

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