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Truth Unapplied is Truth Denied

I was in a high school chapel service yesterday helping to lead worship. I tried repeatedly to encourage students to sing the simple words we were offering our God, but many still blankly stared back at me so I tried another approach.

“How many of you have ever had a headache and you took some aspirin or something?” I said. “Go ahead, raise your hands.”

They all raised their hands.

“Now suppose you had an idea to make the medicine more effective. You’re going to stick it in your ear because that’s closer to where you want the medicine to work. No, obviously that’s not happening. It’s not how it was designed.”

Truth is the same. You can believe you’re getting the full benefit by hearing, but it has to produce an action. It needs to come out of your mouth; otherwise you’re just a hearer, not a doer (James 1:22).

Now, I was encouraging them to sing because that’s a scriptural mandate (check out the Psalms and Paul’s letters) and because embracing truth changes us. Again though, you can’t say you’re embracing truth if you fail to apply it. You’re denying yourself the benefit of it.

We often miss the connections.

My friend TC Avey wrote about thankfulness and hope recently. You can be so focused on how bad you feel everything in your life is and then get angry or at least feel distant from God because you can’t find hope.

The truth is, God gave you His truth and the ability to see its fruit in your life. Instead of complaining and despairing the struggles and frustrations, you can begin to thank Him. Doesn’t matter so much what it is–the breath in your lungs, your clothes, shelter, family, church family, whatever.

As you apply the truth of giving thanks, you renew your hope. You acknowledge that the good gifts you’ve received have little to nothing to do with you and everything to do with His faithfulness.

We are quick to quote John 8:32, “you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free,” but we forget there was a verse before it that enlightens us on how we know the truth.

So Jesus was saying to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you abide in My word [continually obeying My teachings and living in accordance with them, then] you are truly My disciples.  –John 8:31 (AMP)

I realize it’s easier to put it all on God or others and that “the blame game” has pretty much replaced baseball as our national pastime, but you and I can get honest and understand our responsibility here.

Life is His gift. Breath, His gift. Time is His gift. What you choose to do with these will determine how much you experience His truth in your life.

Use the gifts you’ve been given for thankfulness and praise. Don’t allow some temporary situation or your own hard heart to take even a minute of hope, joy, or connection to His love.

He makes it simple.

We try to make it complicated, but go ahead, open wide your mouth and let Him fill it (Psalm 81:10).

What are your thoughts on this? Are you guilty as I am? Do you ever struggle to apply the truth?

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

This is going to be only post this week and next as my son’s 17th birthday is Thursday then family time takes over for Thanksgiving week. I am thankful! For God’s gracious gifts of relationship in family and friends (virtual and in the flesh), I am immensely and honestly grateful.

Thank you all and God’s abundant blessings to you!


  1. I may have said this here before, Jason, but I strongly adhere to a gratitude attitude in my life. When we stop and look around, there really are endless things for which to be thankful. We can never lose hope when we are in a constant state of thanksgiving.
    Wishing your son a very Happy Birthday, and an amazing Thanksgiving holiday for all of your family! (I, too, will be going “dark” next week on the blog.)

    • Yes, and you are so right! The goodness of God outweighs the badness of everything else. We keep our eyes on Him. Thank you and have a great “resting” time next week. Happy Thanksgiving, Martha!

  2. Hi Jason! It’s been a while! I find people don’t sing because they are self conscious about hour they sound. I tell my RE (Sunday School for Catholics) students that singing at church I’d like singing Happy birthday to your family. No one cares how you sound. It is about celebrating together!
    Now, shop I give thanks when things are going rough? I try and fail. My mom’s birthday will be coming up soon, and I know ! will be in the dumps missing her next week.I’ll try to remember to thank God I had a worth crying for, but sometimes I will fail. I know this from past experiences. Still, I am thankful for her.

    • Helen! It has been a while (and thanks for your thoughts). It’s so true! And I definitely understand with high school students that the “self-conscious” thing is at its height, but yeah, if everyone’s singing/focused on God, you have nothing to worry about!

      I love how you talked about trying and failing. None of us are 100%, but being aware and trying is huge. It impacts us more than we know. The sting of losing loved ones is intense and we feel it deeply, but it never has to completely drown us. Thanks so much, Helen. Happy Thanksgiving to you. 🙂

  3. The song which goes through my head is “Give thanks with a grateful heart.” Fantastic lesson jason. have a grateful Thanksgiving and celebration of your son’s birthday.
    bill (cycleguy) recently posted..OtherwiseMy Profile

    • Great song! And thank you. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Bill!

  4. Love the last part…”We try to make it complicated…” We recently talked about that in church. We over complicate God’s will in our lives. We take his message and complicate it until we feel powerless or overwhelmed. While there are some things we will never understand on this side of heaven, there are basic truths and commands we have been given. and as we step out in doing those things, God will reveal more to us. As we focus on Him and not our surroundings His will becomes clearer. As we draw closer to Him it’s easier to know His heart and what He wants from us and for us.
    But we get so distracted.

    Thank you for mentioning my post. I’m honored.
    Sorry I haven’t been around much. I’ve accepted a position at our church that I’m learning and my husband and I are taking the classes to begin fostering. Writing is going to the side-burner. After the first of the year I may take a complete break from it.

    Thank you for sharing your God given wisdom and truths. You inspire many. God bless and Happy Holidays!

    • You’re so right. Distractions abound. Thankful He keeps drawing us back though. You’re very welcome for the mention--my pleasure! And no need to apologize, I haven’t been able to read blogs I love from friends as much either. Life definitely gets hectic. Thanks so much, TC, and happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I used to blame whenever I had problems in my life. I went through a time where I had one problem after another and then decided to look for a solution rather than feel how bad my life is. It turned out things got better and better than it would have if the obstacles were not there. We have a path laid for us by God, and at first we may complain when there are obstacles but in end the truth is that they are there to test and improve our character.
    Leo Tat recently posted..What Is Vitamin D Good For? Health Benefits & Overdose ToxicityMy Profile

    • So true. Shifting blame produces nothing and makes us stuck. Those tests and trials are putting us in position to handle His word fulfilled over our lives and that’s a great thing! Thanks Leo.

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