Apply the Bible to Your Hands

"Hands" by John Lambert Pearson (2007), shared under a Creative Commons Attribution license

John Lambert Pearson (2007), Creative Commons

Christians should be at the top of every field.  They should be the best performers in the workplace.  They should be the most productive citizens.  They should be the most delightful neighbors and the most trustworthy companions.

But so often they’re not.  Outsiders often see them as lazy, condescending, irritable, and ignorant.

Why?  We’ve been bought with a price, and now get to honor God with our bodies (1 Cor 6:20).  We have a new Master, and we work for him – not for any human supervisors (Col 3:23-24).  Jesus plans to make all things new (Rev 21:5); surely this includes not only spiritual improvement but also technology, culture, the arts, and education.

Here’s the thing, though.  People don’t become Christians because they’re particularly useful to God or exemplary in some skill.  They’re not the sharpest knives in the drawer, nor the tops of their classes.  They’re not the most beautiful, engaging, or selfless people on the planet.  That’s why Christ died for them (1 Cor 1:26-30).

So there’s a reason Christians will never naturally gravitate to the upper levels of society in any generation.

But Jesus is in the business of making the unlovely lovely.  He takes the weak and infuses them with his strength.  He makes the poor rich in him, and he makes the ignorant wise in him.

In short, Jesus is taking over the world.  If you follow him, he’ll shape you into something useful.  He guarantees you a part in the drama.  You’re an executive in his company.

This means that your application of the Bible must hit your hands.  It must equip you in skills you didn’t think you could acquire.  The Bible will instruct you and train you in fresh ways, so you can become a skilled laborer for the kingdom of God.  This is the second sphere of application.

What does it look like to apply the Bible to your hands?  How does one develop new skills?

Let’s practice by using the main point of Luke 2:1-21: “God sent Jesus to be born so he might save the lowly and rule them graciously. This brings him highest glory.”

Some inward Hand applications might be:

  • I should freely acknowledge those areas of life where I am weak and unskilled (lowly).
  • I can speak about these issues often, requesting advice so I can improve.
  • I should praise God explicitly when I succeed.
  • I should praise God explicitly when I fail.
  • I ought to think and speak about Jesus, his saving work, and his gracious rule constantly.
  • I can learn to work Jesus into any conversation, without any hint of arrogance or condescension.  (This is not a matter of gifting.  God commands every Christian to learn this skill.  See Col 4:5-6.)
  • I can hear others out and seek to understand them, even if they don’t hear me out.

Some outward Hand applications might be:

  • I can train younger believers (including my children) in any of the items listed above.
  • I can encourage any and all progress I see.
  • I should graciously rebuke those who follow Christ, but who aren’t making any improvements in their lives (those who aren’t submitting to his gracious rule).
  • Whenever I learn a new skill, I should look for someone else to teach it to so God’s glory can keep spreading virally.

As you apply the Bible to your life, don’t stop with thinking true thoughts.  Make sure you continue to apply the Gospel by doing good things (Gal 6:9-10).

What other Hand applications from Luke 2 can you think of?

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Apply the Bible to Your Heart
Apply the Bible to Your Head
  • Jake Swink

    Hey Peter,
    What would be some good questions to ask to make sure I am coming up with good inward and outward hands statements?

    • Peter Krol

      I’d ask questions like: What skills do I need to learn (inward)? What skills can I help others to learn (outward)? How can I become more effective at what I do (inward)? How can I help others be more effective at what they do (outward)?
      Do those questions jog your thinking and help you to think of others?

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