On the board she wrote, “Meat cooking in a pan.” What kind of meat? What kind of cooking? What kind of pan? “Bring it down the ladder,” she said. “Make it appeal to as many senses as possible.”
Under the offending phrase she drew a large ladder. Then, as we answered each question, she rewrote the original phrase, placing each clarification down another rung on the ladder. Gradually that blah little phrase became more and more concrete. At the bottom of the ladder we wound up with, “Bacon sizzling in a cast iron skillet.” Suddenly you could see it, you could hear it, you could even smell it.
Learning all the Bible stories is essential to a Christian. All those narratives make the abstract commands more concrete. “Flee fornication,” Paul says in 1 Cor 6:18. The concrete illustration is Joseph in Genesis 39. Look at all the things Joseph did to help himself—first he said no to the woman, then he did his best to avoid being alone with her, and when finally she caught him, literally, he simply ran.
But even recognizing that does not bring it down the ladder far enough. I must apply it to my own life. What temptations do I struggle with? Do I even get past the point of saying no? Do I avoid the temptation or try to see how close I can get? Do I think I need to prove something and so stand there and try to overcome the temptation when the wiser thing would be to run away?
That is just a small example of how the Scriptures should affect my life. Men stand and pray at the end of practically every sermon that we will “make application” to our lives. Too often we don’t even try. Too often even the sermons themselves are void of specific concrete examples to help us find a way to apply them. In actually making pointed applications, even made-up situations, the preacher is likely to hit a nail right on the head accidentally. Maybe that is why we don’t hear too many specific applications. That means we need to try even harder to do it for ourselves.
God meant for the scriptures to lead us to Heaven. We have the mistaken notion that we need to stay at the top of the ladder to get there. But in this case, the closer we get to the bottom, the more likely we will make it.
This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate thereon day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shalt make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success, Josh 1:8.