I've been thinking about this whole idea of there being a gap between our theology and our reality lately. One of the pastors at my church talked about it in a sermon recently and it's been in my head since then. I think because it's something I see and know can be there in my own life, and I think it is common in the lives of many followers of Christ.
How often do you find yourself thinking to yourself or saying to another person that you know something is true in your head, but you don't seem to believe it with how you live? I know I've been there a lot in my life. If you asked me about some things I could give you a lengthy list of Scriptures that talk about it and explain it to you clearly, but if you then move on to asking me how that works practically in my life I could have a problem, because there is a gap between my theology and my reality.
I would be the last one to discourage studying the Bible and theology and knowing what we believe and the Scripture that supports it. I love doing that kind of study. But, I'm beginning to see the huge danger that comes from doing all that study but stopping short of making the truth we learn through it a reality in our lives. God didn't intend for Scripture to just be something we gained head knowledge from; He intended for it to bring life-changing truth to us so that we would act on that truth. God doesn't want us to live with a gap between our theology and our reality. Our theology should impact our reality.
But, how do we do this? I could stop with my comments above and continue to leave a gap between our theology and our reality, but that's probably not going to fit too well with this blog. I feel like if I'm going to say that the gap shouldn't be there then I should get more practical too.
So, how do we close the gap between our theology and our reality? What does it look like?
To some degree this will look different for each person. But, I think the basics of it comes down to taking everything we learn and study about and asking ourselves the question: How does this apply to my life today, in the situations I'm in? What can I do to live this out? We need to finish our study with applying it to our lives.
In my own life recently, I have been studying faith and what it is and what it looks like. It's been a good study and it's been making me think a lot. It would be very easy to just study what the Bible says faith is and stop there, but that would leave a gap between my theology and my reality. Studying faith has been very relevant to things going on my life and the lives of some friends of mine., and I know there is a gap between what I could tell you about faith and what it looks like in my life. Closing this gap in my life during this study has meant that I don't just study faith, but that I make the choice each day to actually practice having faith in God. And for me, that means that I begin my day by declaring my faith, and I remind myself of it through out my day as situations come up where I'm tempted to doubt that God is there and has a plan. Rather than getting discouraged and deciding God doesn't care when it seems like something is going wrong, it means that I'm choosing to trust that God can still work through the situation for his good and to go to Him in prayer about it. It's not totally natural right now and definitely not always easy, but I know it's good.
So, where are the gaps between your theology and your reality? How can you take steps to close that gap?