The most important application that preachers can make is to show how the text demands a particular pattern of thought that is then to be applied amongst the innumerable variables of life. Of course, only the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Wisdom can apply God’s word to the soul transforming the mind of the hearer. But when he does, he will not only stir up love for God and his ways, but also enable biblical reasoning, right reason, that will lead to wise decisions.
Your teen-age daughter wants to start dating a young man who is quite nice, very likeable, professes faith in Jesus for salvation, but his dad is an adulterer, even while remaining married, and is verbally abusive toward women. What do you say to her, and why? Someone on pastoral staff at your church, who is not the senior minister, has a spouse who routinely uses profane language. To whom do you go about the matter and why? One of your colleagues at work regular drinks alcohol while on the job in violation of company policy, and you are the only one who knows about it. Do you say anything? If so, to whom? What do you say, and why? The last I checked, none of these scenarios are explicitly addressed by Scripture.
In fact, what we discover when we read God’s word is that it does not explicitly address the vast majority of the scenarios in which we find ourselves. So much for the practicality of Scripture! Not only this, but God has only given us Ten Commandments for all of life, and Jesus went a step further and reduced them to two: Love God and love your neighbor. You do realize what God is telling us in all this, don’t you? God demands that we think! More specifically, God demands that we think his thoughts after him, or think in accordance with his word.
But it is perhaps safe to say that thinking scares many of us. How much easier it is just to be told exactly what to do and how to do it, when to do it, with whom to do it, with whom not to do it, etc. How much easier it is just to have our lives micromanaged for us; for someone to do our thinking for us. You know, for the government to tell you how to keep yourself safe in every situation in life.
Of course, we must implement this kind of micromanagement with the care of very young children.