What does peanut butter have to do with joy?
Probably nothing unless you really like peanut butter, especially if it is surrounded by chocolate. But it does serve as a good illustration of what it means to apply the joy of the word of God to our lives. “How so?” you may ask.
Several years ago I was speaking to a group of ladies, and I was trying to illustrate the word “apply” as it relates to putting the word of God to work in our lives. “Apply” means to put or spread (something) on a surface. I used the illustration of applying peanut butter to a piece of bread. Since Jesus is the Word (John 1:1) and he is also the “bread of life” (John 6:48), it seemed like a good analogy. If you have ever made a peanut butter sandwich you know that once the peanut butter has been spread on the bread, you are going to have a hard time getting it off. (Not that you want to, of course.) So I want to apply joy in the same way: So it’s stuck on my heart.
It’s the same with God’s word. As we study the Bible, we learn to hide his word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11). When it gets down into our hearts, it is there to stay, like peanut butter on bread! When we experience tough times, and we will, we just have to reach into our big helping of God’s word and apply it to whatever situation we are facing. Easy, huh? Not exactly.
Trusting God with not only our trials and tribulations but also with every aspect of our existence takes practice but the more often we apply God’s word to our daily lives, the easier it becomes. Putting the word to work for us ahead of time may be one of the most important things we can learn as a Christian.
How do we do that? First, we hide God’s word in our heart, and then we pray it back to him. There are thousands of verses in the Bible that we can turn into prayers for practically any situation that may arise. Once we begin praying God’s word back to him, we are on our way to becoming an effective prayer warrior!
The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
If you have been a Christian for a long time, you have most likely had a lot of practice in learning to trust God. If you are a new Christian, though, you have probably not had much opportunity just yet to apply God’s word to your life experiences. I have been a Christian for a long, long time and I am still learning. We all have opportunities on a daily basis to put our trust in God. Sometimes things do turn out far better than we could have imagined but sometimes they don’t turn out at all the way we had envisioned. What then? Do we stop trusting God? No! We believe that God knows what is best for us and that he is going to be true to His word.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil to give you a future and a hope.
There are three words that all Christians need to know and remember about God: omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. They mean, in order, that God is “all-knowing,” “everywhere present.” and “all-powerful.” That is quite a concept for a new believer to wrap his or her mind around. These are comforting words, though, because they describe our God in a marvelous way. He knows all because he is present everywhere, which makes him all-powerful!
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
Did you notice the last part of that sentence? “. . .to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” Keep in mind that any blessings we receive from the Lord are contingent upon our obedience to him.
I have probably given you a lot to consider today but just remember to take the Bread of Life and apply His word!
And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.
And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.
1. Apply. (2016) Retrieved from Merriam-Webster.com website http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apply