I always hear people say knowledge without love puffs itself up, we see Paul telling the church at Corinth this in 1 Corinthians 8:1. While this is very true I also want to say that knowledge without application equals disaster. Let me explain.
I spent nearly three years learning Reformed theology (also known as The Word of God, Scripture, the Bible). I studied creation and arguments for it, Covenant theology and the deep love and understanding that comes along with digging deeper into God’s beautiful plan that He carried out through His son. I learned about the parables that Jesus spoke and the beginning of the church. I even learned what the church is, what it is a picture of, how a pastor should handle his flock, how women in the church should behave and what our responsibility is. I learned about God’s will and human responsibility and I touched on the different schools of thought about eschatology. The biggest topic that I seemed to always land on was SIN.
In prison you have a church service that you can attend, there are several to choose from. You go once a week and you set for an hour and a half and you learn what you can if that is what you are truly there for. The thing that get’s you there is that as much as you want your church service to be your church family it just isn’t going to happen the same as it happens in the free world. You have people constantly cycling through prison so you may see someone one time and never see them again. Or you could go to church with someone who lives on a different dorm as you and even though you are in the same prison you still won’t see them.
I knew that being part of the body of Christ would be invasive, accountability in the church is one of our human responsibilities. I never realized how paramount this would be in fighting sin. You see, I learned about sin and how to fight it. I had sin in prison, plenty of it. I also had sisters who held me accountable, but true application was just not there. The circumstances of prison helped me tremendously to learn, but never could I have imagined what it would be like to be in a church and fight sin together with other believers.
In prison it was very easy to hide my sin. Mostly all christians in prison have not ever truly lived a christian life in the church, and unfortunately most of their church experiences in the free world were not what the Bible would tell you church is suppose to be. So, when it comes to application, especially with accountability we were all very cautious or we just couldn’t do it right.
Coming to Through the Gate was a real eye opener. I thought that because I knew some thing’s I would be fine. I thought because I had left prison with unresolved sin issues that I would never have to deal with them because well, I am not in prison anymore. Silly me, God never let’s his children sin successfully. When you belong to God He want’s all of you, not just most of you. If you have sin in your life, no matter if you think that you can hide it, ignore it, or deceive yourself into thinking that it is just not there anymore- God will deal with it.
This is where the application comes in. Having a church to show me what it looks like to actually live out God’s word, to actually apply His word to their everyday lives, that is the means that God used to bring my sin to light. I didn’t even realize that I had fully hidden my sin. I realized that I was guarding my sin like it was something I needed to protect. I was afraid of losing it and what my life would be like with out it. It was comfortable to me I guess. It was easy to deny.
Like I said earlier, God wants all of you, not just a little bit. God’s word is so powerful and it is meant to be lived out. I was so afraid of giving up my sin because I thought I would feel empty. Getting that sin out and in to the light gave me freedom. That doesn’t mean that I don’t struggle, but I have learned that you have to pair knowledge with application or it will be a disaster. How do you do that? You pray and you rely on God and His people. I am thankful that God is teaching me and that He has placed me somewhere that applies His word to their daily lives!
Love your sister in Christ,