Practical Religion: The Missing Ingredient

6 years ago I noticed two problems.

First, there was something missing in the way we talk about the Christian life.

I started noticing it in my own life first. But as I talked to other believers, I found I wasn’t alone.

The problem?

We treat Christian living like a theory.

What I mean is we all seem to have been taught what we are supposed to be doing to grow as believers, honor God, and serve others, but too often no one ever actually showed us how to do those things.

For example, growing up in church I knew I was supposed to be reading my Bible. Sounds simple enough, right?

  • But how was I supposed to be reading it?
  • For how long?
  • Where was I supposed to start?
  • And what did everyone mean when they said I should β€œstudy the Bible”?

It was like I had been given the ingredients for living a faithful Christian life but no one had sat down and shown me, “here’s how you actually mix the ingredients,” or “here’s exactly how long you need to cook it for.”

The recipe was incomplete.

Practical Religion

J.C. Ryle has a wonderful book with an even more wonderful title, Practical Religion. In it, Ryle helps readers with how to actually live the Christian lifeβ€”not just in theory but in practice.

That book was published in 1878, but it seems modern believers still require greater emphasis on practical religion. How else will we learn the simple, daily disciplines of the Christian life?

As rudimentary as it may sound, at some point in our Christian lives we need someone to sit down with us and say, “let me show you exactly how you do it.”

But I said I noticed two problems. So let me address the second one.

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Practical Living

Not only do we not know practical religion, but we also don’t know the practicals of just plain old regular living.

Our education system has failed to teach us the daily disciplines of everyday living. How many students graduate with barely even a rudimentary understanding of personal finances? Much less time management?

And for whatever reason, so many things that were obvious to previous generations seem to have been lost in translation.

But we can’t put the blame wholly on our parents and teachers. The truth is the world has changed far too fast for anyone to have been expected to keep up.

I remember my mom sitting me down at the kitchen table and showing me how to balance my checkbook. That was the first and last time I ever balanced a checkbook. I had online banking.

Now, so often it’s the younger generations teaching the older generations how to survive in this age of technology and distractions.

We’re all trying to figure it out as we go.

Two Birds, One Stone

So what’s the solution to these two problems?

How do we actually become people who lead effective Christian lives in this complex world?

Well, if we want to learn the skills of both practical religion and practical living, we need practical training.

Theology + Practice

I’ve long been a student of theology, but to me, it’s always made sense that theology should lead to application.

So I’ve become convinced that by bringing together theology with productivity, we can not only close the gap between theory and practice in our spiritual lives but also achieve greater levels of satisfaction and accomplishment in our work and hobbies.

These things are not unrelated. We can solve both problems at once.

An Origin Story

It was the consideration of these twin problems that eventually led me to a seed of an idea:

  • What if I could bring together sound doctrine with practical living?
  • What if I could produce resources that would help normal Christians live the normal Christian life?
  • What if instead of merely serving up theory, I could teach other believers how to live their day-to-day lives as stewards, taking full advantage of the resources of Scripture as well as the common grace resources of time management and personal productivity?

That seed of an idea eventually blossomed into Redeeming Productivity.

And now that I’ve been writing, podcasting, and video-making about productivity and the Christian life for over 6 years, I’ve had enough time to notice some patterns in the believers I get to work with.

The most common problems Christians tell me they face are practical problems:

  • Procrastination
  • Distraction
  • Laziness
  • Motivation
  • Consistency

And time and again I’ve found that these practical problems require practical solutions rooted in sound theology.

Wisdom requires that we learn the skills of life like:

  1. Time Management
  2. The Art of Graciously Saying No
  3. Effective Goal Setting
  4. To-Do List Management
  5. Habit Formation

And learning these skills from a biblical perspective may just be the missing ingredient in your Christian life too.

REDEEMING PRODUCTIVITY ACADEMY

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Redeeming Productivity Academy is our biblically-based membership program designed to help believers take their effectiveness to the next level and honor God while doing it.

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