God's word begins with "head knowledge." We sometimes dismiss "head knowledge" as unimportant simply because we believe "heart knowledge" seems better. However, "head knowledge" is essential to our faith. You cannot have faith in something that you know nothing about. The problem isn't "head knowledge," but problems do arise when all we have is "head knowledge." Our faith begins with knowledge of God's word.
Where does it go from there? Our "head knowledge" must then be moved to "heart knowledge." Your meditation of Scripture will move God's word from "head knowledge" to "heart knowledge." When we eat, we cannot simply chew our food and then spit it out and expect to gain nourishment. We must consume the food. It must move from our mouth to our stomach. In the same way, when we read God's word, we cannot simply chew on God's word and allow it to remain in our minds. When we meditate upon Scripture, it is the process of moving what we have placed in our minds into our hearts. Biblical meditation is to fill your mind with Scripture and allow it to move to your heart. When we fail to move "head knowledge" to "heart knowledge," then we become prideful. The Bible teaches in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that "knowledge puffs up."
Interestingly, "heart knowledge" is not the final destination either. Once God's word has become the meditation of our heart, it must move to our feet. Pastor Christopher recently shared this quote, "Missions is really nothing but worship that tied its shoes. It is worship that kept going, that continued to its logical conclusion." We "tie our shoes" when we tithe. We "tie our shoes" when we share the Gospel. Here's the problem, many in our church pews have never learned to tie their shoes. They depend on others to tie their shoes for them. Just as "knowledge puffs up" when it fails to move from the head to the heart, our faith is dead when it fails to move from the heart to our feet. James 2:17 declares, "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." What type of fruit does a dead tree produce? Exactly! It doesn't produce fruit. We are called to produce lasting fruit for the Kingdom of God. This task will never occur if we don't tie our shoes!
What step can you take to begin learning to tie your own shoes? Here are six Spiritual HABITS that I have identified that can help you "tie your own shoes"...
Hang Time with God: Daily time reading God's word and in prayer.
Accountability in a Small Group: Join a group of like-minded believers who are committed to God's word.
Bible memorization: Meditate on God's word.
Involvement in Ministry & Mission: Every believer has a ministry in the church and a mission in the world.
Tithing: Biblical stewardship begins with giving God the first fruits of all your increase. Have you trusted Him with 10% of the first fruits of your income?
Sermon Application: After each sermon ask, "What does God want me to do in response to hearing the word?"
Each Monday, the pastors of First Baptist Church pray for three things. (1) Open a door. We ask God to open a door to share the Gospel with someone who is unchurched. We pray for God to bring someone across each of our paths in order to share the Gospel with them (cf. Col. 4:2-4). (2) Open their heart. We ask God to open the heart of those we encounter We pray their heart will be receptive to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Thess. 3:1). (3) Open my mouth. We ask God to open our mouths with boldness as we share the Gospel with others (cf. Eph. 6:19-20). Would you begin to pray for these same things each Monday? Imagine what God would do in our church and community if we began to have Gospel conversations.
Let me introduce you to Janie Wise. She is no stranger to our FBC family. Janie is a student at the University of Kentucky and recently sensed God's call on her life to short-term missions through The World Race. She will be traveling to five different countries over nine (9) months! During her journey, she will be sharing the love of Christ through a wide variety of projects. The projects will range from construction, Bible camps, working with orphans, prayer walks, to hospital visits. While every day of the World Race may look different, Janie's goal is to share the love of Jesus every step of the way.
Janie will be living out of a backpack while traveling to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ethiopia, Nepal, and the Philippines. She will be challenged to abandon the comforts of her daily living in exchange for a greater understanding of Kingdom focused living among the "least of these." It's more than a "mission trip." It is a journey to see the world as Jesus sees the world.
What can you do? You can begin by praying for her right now. Pray for Janie as she prepares for this unique opportunity. Pray that God will prepare her mentally, physically, socially, and spiritually. Pray for her as she participates in a ten (10) day training experience in mid-July. Pray that she receives all of the financial support that she needs ($5000 by July 7th and another $5000 by August). Pray about your own financial support of Janie. You can read her blog and donate here: http://janiewise.theworldrace.org/.
God is using the young adults of FBC in an amazing way. We will be hearing from Andrew Ledford on Sunday, July 17th during worship as he shares about his missionary work in Montenegro. Janie will be sharing with us on Sunday, July 31st during worship as well.
Praying for you Janie!
Dr. Chris Dortch has been in ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."