God or Godly Character? Is it a matter of balance? How do we address the fact of God changing the inside verses outward appearance and conformity? In discipleship and teaching there is a tension between these two.
Where we are at
Within the North American Church there seems to be a dichotomy between theology and practice. Such a focus tends to make church man centered rather than God centered as people focus on what is seemingly practical and ‘skip’ the foundation that sustains the practical. The high value we see for practical, application, “easy to do” gives evidence to this dichotomy. At the same time, I’ve seen dead orthodoxy where the Bible and theology are taught, but frankly it is dull and seemingly not applicable to one’s life, just tons of data. Theology is not a data dump.
Where the Bible points
The pattern we often see in Scripture is that as people encounter God (theology), their lives change (application). In Joshua chapter 1, God explicitly tells Joshua to know the law cold (theology) so he may be careful obey it and have success by following it (application). Paul instructs Timothy to be watchful of his teaching (theology) and his ministry (application). Theology at its core, its very essence, is encountering God. Encountering God demands that we change as we realize who He is. To separate theology from application is to create a dichotomy that does not exist in Scripture.
We act (application) based on what we believe (theology).
Perhaps if our eyes become more attuned to God and our relationship with Him, that correct behavior will follow. That is the pattern we see in Scripture. Your faith has healed you, go and sin no more.