How to Receive God’s Word

Either you will become more like Jesus Christ, or you will be hardened to the truth and become cold towards Jesus.

Because of how dangerous it is to be exposed to Scripture, James, the brother of Christ, in James 1:19 is concerned for the Church. He’s already warned them to be prepared for trials, and temptation and now he wants them to be prepared to receive the word of God. In this verse he gives three short imperatives, that will remind us about the importance of how to react to God’s word when exposed to it.

 

Have you ever stopped to think about how often you are exposed to God’s word?

Every time you open up the Bible for time with the Lord, the God of the universe speaks. Every time you go to small group and discuss a passage of Scripture He is speaking. When you quote verses in your head that you have memorized, He is talking. When exposed to His word He tells you who He is, He tells you how to live, He tells you what other people are like, He even tells you about the future.

It’s a dangerous thing to be exposed to the word of God, because every time one of two things happen. Either you will become more like Jesus Christ, or you will be hardened to the truth and become cold towards Jesus.

Steve Lawson in his biography of John Calvin says,

“We owe to the Scripture the same reverence which we owe to God because it has proceeded from Him alone, and has nothing of man mixed with it.” This was the unshakable foundation of Calvin’s preaching-the authority of divinely inspired Scripture. He firmly believed that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.”

Because of how dangerous it is to be exposed to Scripture, James, the brother of Christ, inJames 1:19 is concerned for the Church. He’s already warned them to be prepared for trials, and temptation and now he wants them to be prepared to receive the word of God. In this verse he gives three short imperatives, that will remind us about the importance of how to react to God’s word when exposed to it.

19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;

Quick to hear

People have a hard time listening in this day and age. I was recently watching the movie Bambi with my kids. I was shocked by how slow the characters were, how little was going on on-screen. Modern day cartoons are so different. Everything is faster, bigger, brighter, with so much more happening. We just have to face the fact that we have a hard time paying attention. And James wants us to make sure that we are alert and listening each time we come to hear from God.

We need to prepare ourselves before hand. To hear the word we must be alert. We must get enough sleep, we must pray, we must repent of all wickedness and we must work hard to tune out temptations and distractions so that we can be fully prepared to sit under Scripture.

In James 1:21 he tells us to put aside all filthiness, in other words we need to clean out our ears. You’ve seen a child’s ear full of nasty gunk. I’ve had to clean a couple myself. In the same way we must clean out our wrong presuppositions and replace them with God’s. We must come to the word ready to listen and ready to be changed, because nothing can change us but the word of God.

Slow to speak
In other words, “shut up!” Stop talking to your self. If when someone confronts you, you right away get defensive and start defending yourself or change the subject, chances are you are talking to fast or not listening.

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