Love. Learn. Limit. Live. Lead.
1) Your theology influences how you love God ... and everyone else
If we know God better, we'll love him more. This is why we can't just sing what sounds good, but also strive to sing what's true of God.
On the flip side, if we don't think about God much, we'll find ourselves loving other people more than him, then other things, then ourselves more than anything else. This spiral pulls us away from the people in our lives we want to love and from God.
In this way, good theology serves as an anchor for our loves, ordering everything well.
2) Your theology influences how you learn about the world.
Christians should be the most interested people in any classroom. Our theology, well-developed, containsa pregnant sense that all truth belongs to God and matters to him.
But we often refuse to learn about the world, viewing science as religion's enemy or the physical world as less important than spiritual reality. We hijack classes and belittle education. And, in so doing, reveal a deep flaw in our thinking about God.
The God who made the world and works in history gets buried under our solemn ritual, chained to our altars, and trapped in our church buildings. And we join him, comfortable. Only to find that he's escaped ... freed himself from our buildings, broken the chains that held him in place and (the nerve of this God) has even risen from our gravity. And with this freedom, he's out in the world, shaping history and culture, fueling science, sustaining all that is good in the fallen world.
And our learning, conceived rightly, gives birth to intimacy with him.
3) Your theology influences how you limit your activity ... or don't.
If God is truly God and we are truly not, we have to accept limits.
We can't be anything we want to be.
We need sleep.
We can't do anything we want to do.
We need help.
If we don't think well about God - who he is and what prerogatives are reserved for him and him alone - we'll push our limits. And, believe me, they will push us back.
4) Your theology influences how you live your life.
We order our lives around who we think God is.
If he's cruel and strict, we tip-toe and behave and sneak.
If he's indulgent, we take advantage.
If he's generous and gracious, we live in humility and gratitude.
If he's imaginary, even then, our lives reflect this perception.
As Dean Miller said "Your theology leads to a certain doxology which overflows into ethics. Flaws is ethics always trace back to flaws in how we think about and experience and love the ever-loving God."
5) Your theology influences how you lead your people.
Everybody leads somebody sometimes.
How you lead reflects how you think about God.
Do you lead like you're serving under another Leader? Do you lead like it all hangs on you? Do you lord your leadership over people? Do you love the ones you lead, even as Christ, who was more than a leader to us, loved us?
How else does your theology influence you?
(Bonus bacon if you bring Baptist-brand alliteration ... extra points for "L's")