We often talk about application in relation to God's Word. Like James 1:22 says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." We are not designed to be the landfill of truth - a place where God's Word comes to sit and rot. We are recycling centers. We're meant to take in the truth of God and to have it move in us, through us, and out of us.
But is "doing" the Word always an action? Must we always connect our studies to a tangible "spiritual to-do list"? I find that when we talk about applying the Word, that's where my mind goes to first. How do I do this? What does it "look" like? It can almost feel exclusively horizontally driven.
I wonder if we'd be better served to think about "responding" to God's Word instead of "applying". Instead of trying to figure out what to do based on the passage, we let the passage speak about God and his claim on our lives.
Responding looks like conviction - a concreting of our beliefs in line with God's Word. Responding looks like a greater faith in the gospel. Responding looks like worship!
In some ways, these ought to be our regular responses to the Word. And the overflow of conviction and faith and worship will lead us to live more faithfully (or differently when necessary).
So may God help us to "apply" by rightly responding to his truth in all its various forms.