Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | July 10, 2017

What is Practical Christianity?

Higher Ground by Adele Bower©

What does Practical Really Mean?

I was listening to a sermon the other day when the pastor spoke to a subject I had heard many times before; the idea that whether you’re a teacher or a preacher it is important to leave the hearer with something they can apply to their lives immediately. In one way that may sound like a good idea but then in another way is it always the best thing to do?

I worked as a homebuilder for over 36 years and early on was taught one lesson I never forgot; the importance of a good basic foundation and structure for the home you were building. The idea was if you had the basics right, then the additions could be adjusted as needed in order to get the desired results. Cosmetic details could be changed provided you were working with a strong, solid foundation and the basic structure was true.

Over the years I have come to see how life has some similarities to building a house; I think we’ll all agree that life comes with a lot of assembly required. I’m convinced that many of the same principles apply to life building as they do to home building. If our lives are to be a success they must have a solid foundation and a strong basic structure on which to add the cosmetic details.

Would it not be considered “practical” to build our lives on such a foundation and structure as well? While the cosmetic details of our lives are unique to each of us we share a common need to have a solid foundation on which to build our lives, do we not? It is vital that our construction decisions be based on the best available information even if that information may not appear to meet an immediate need for tomorrow or the day after.

The last several years of my homebuilding career were in an area with very active soil; the soil would expand dramatically when wet and shrink with equal drama when dry. This resulted in a lot of stress and strain on the foundation so we had a soil investigation done for every building site in order to determine what the characteristics of the soil were at that particular location.

The soil investigation was given to an engineer who would design a foundation for those particular soil conditions and we would build the house on the foundation designed by the engineer; we were trying to use the best available information starting from the beginning.

How Dependable is the Foundation on which you are Building your Life?

I suggest it would be unwise to use unrealistic information as a basis for making decisions when it comes to your life. In an earlier essay I wrote, “All of us have heard the expression “get real” which usually means to deal with life as it really is and stop dreaming. That is good advice as reality is the ultimate judge of the value of all of our actions and decisions.” What is Reality

In this same essay I wrote, “If the world and all we see is nothing more than a stage setting then what is reality? The answer is both simple and yet complex beyond our ability to understand. As always the only source of truth about anything ultimate is the Bible.”

I’m sure you already see where I’m going with this; if we are looking for solid, reliable information on which to design and build our foundation for life we must go to a source that can be trusted to give us the correct information and that is the Bible; nothing else even comes close!

There is nothing really beautiful about a foundation and almost nothing to find beautiful about the basic framework of a house; it is, however, of the greatest importance that these elements by thoughtfully and carefully crafted as the ultimate success of the entire house will depend on them.

Building Your Foundation

If I were to try and identify the foundation for each of our lives I would identify the basic perceptions we have of ourselves and the world; when we wake up to a new day how do we see ourselves, how do we see the world in which we live? We might call these perceptions our basic assumptions about life and we generally make our daily decisions based on these assumptions.

Are our perceptions of reality and our assumptions about life based on the Bible or on popular opinion? Building a solid, realistic worldview requires reliable information and the Bible is the only source of that kind of information; if our assumptions are to be realistically valid then they should be based on the Bible.

While the Bible does not generally address the daily details of life it does establish broad principles for living which can provide the needed guidance when the time comes to make decisions about the details of life. These broad principles are present in both the Old and New Testaments but for the Christian, living under the New Covenant, the New Testament is the best source of rock solid information about life.

There is a body of knowledge which has been accumulated over the centuries that extracts this foundational knowledge about life from the pages of the Bible. I have found the doctrinal statement of Dallas Theological Seminary to be an accurate source of information for preparing a foundation for living. It can be found here: DTS Doctrinal Statement I personally believe and follow the “Full Doctrinal Statement.”

At first it may appear that a good knowledge of Bible doctrine is not essential to living the Christian life; I can attest to the truth that it is, in fact, an exceedingly valuable tool for living the Christian life well. I encourage you to look to the Bible for the basics of living a successful Christian life and encourage you to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy: “15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

My thoughts and suggestion on this subject are not original, please consider the following:

“46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47 Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48 He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49 But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

I encourage you, no, I respectfully urge you to build your house on the solid rock and that rock is the Lord Jesus Christ! Practical Christianity is Christianity that works; I believe this kind of Christianity is best described in Galatians 5:22-25 where it is written:

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”

 

 

 


Responses

  1. This is solid teaching. As you taught me and others, “the only source of wisdom is the Bible.” My daughter needs this and I will send it to her in the hope she has time in her busy day. I know she will have plenty of time when her foundation is strong. Thank you,

    John

    >

    Liked by 1 person


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