When one speaks of practical Christian living, they think of something that is tangible and has direct application to how they are living today. Thus, one thinks “relevant.” But the danger is that in attempting to become relevant, one leaves behind clear biblical principles that are needed to direct people rightly.
Present culture must conform to the Bible’s teaching
The Apostle Paul wrote in such a way to provide the necessary foundation of Biblical Theology, and followed with the practical application of that theology to everyday life: very relevant, very practical and still accurate for today’s society. Rather than attempting to fit the Bible’s teaching into the present culture, the present culture must conform to the Bible’s teaching.
Paul explains this in Romans 12 when he says in verse 1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable and perfect, will of God.”
Paul begs to the Christians
Paul begins by begging the Christians at the church in Rome, based on the very mercies of God, to present both body and mind to God. He states it is only reasonable that you would do this.
But he goes farther. Instead of suggesting that men would try to make the Bible fit into the culture, he commands them not to mold, or shape themselves after the pattern of the present culture. Rather, be renewed in the mind for the sole purpose of proving what the actual will of God really was for them.
Paul’s letters has an opening discussion about the very nature of God, salvation, and Christian living explained in detail. But at the conclusion of each letter, there are multiple applications of those truths for practical living.
In particular, in Romans, the first 11 chapters are taken up with doctrine, while the next 5 chapters are fixated on how to practically apply those doctrines with such statements as:
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another” Romans 12:10
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Romans 12:18
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
And the remainder of the book is likewise written. But so are his epistles to the church at Galatia, Colossae and the rest of his epistles.
How can we serve and follow Him?
So for practical living, Paul insists one must first have body and mind given over completely to God, then the practical living can begin. Until we know who our Lord is, we can hardly serve and follow him. In fact, it was our Lord, Jesus Christ, who stated it this way in Matthew 22:37-38, “ Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.”
With these words, one can begin living the practical Christian life, that has a foundation in solid theology, that will work itself out in practical living.