Even Better Than Eden: Application is the Focus
To read a story and enjoy it is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
To read a story and have it change your life is one of life’s greatest treasures.
I hope the latter will be the case for you.
I’ll be focusing a lot on not just the unfolding of the story but our response to it. It may or may not involve a radical change in your life. Application primarily happens in a couple of key dimensions.
First, it transforms our relationship with God.
If what you read opens your eyes to worship and love Him more, that is already an important transformation. If you will note, Nancy ends every chapter with a hymn. If, after reading, your heart bursts into song, that is a wholly appropriate and excellent way to apply what you have learned.
Another way to respond is by giving thanks to Him for the good news of the Gospel through Christ. As we read, I hope that your heart will be amazed at what Christ has done for us, the amazing depth of the treasure He has bestowed on us. If your heart is more grateful to Jesus for all He has done, that is another way to apply what you read.
Some topics we read may require steps of faith and trust in areas of significant suffering and struggle. Or it might mean we turn to prayer instead of turning to ourselves. It might mean confession and repentance of sin or unbelief. Whatever it is, some applications are Godward in nature.
Second, it transforms our relationships with those around us.
One simple way to put this into action is to simply retell the story to someone else who may need to hear it. Tell it to your children. Tell it to your spouse. Tell it to a loved one who has lost hope, or a friend who is struggling, or a child that needs direction. This Story is meant to be told, reshared.
Sometimes, God may ask us to pinpoint an area of weakness in a relationship and address it. Or He may ask us to take steps to reconcile.
And sometimes, that person we need to address is ourselves. Let the Story wash over you so that it might help you to understand yourself in a new light—perhaps with more grace, perhaps with more challenge.
As you work through the various themes, I encourage you to take the time to ask yourself this general question, “How does knowing this Story change my story now?”
Reflect, journal, and interact. Some themes may resonate more with you than others, and that’s okay. Or you might notice God pinpointing an area in your life that needs His touch.
Whatever happens, let it touch down into your life. Prayerfully let Him guide you into specifics.
Knowing the Story is indeed a great pleasure; letting it change you is God’s treasure.