Four 'hearing aids' for receiving God's Word
by Rick Warren
"Accept the word planted in you." James 1:21 (NIV)
"Now, why is it possible to take two seeds that are exactly the same, plant them in two different locations, yet, get more fruitfulness from one seed than the other? It is because one is planted in soil that is prepared to receive the seed "
If we're going to be blessed by the Word of God, we need to be receptive. All through Scripture, God's Word is compared to seed. When Jesus told the parable of the sower, he said, "The Word of God is a seed and it's planted in our hearts" (Luke 8:11-12).
Now, why is it possible to take two seeds that are exactly the same, plant them in two different locations, yet, get more fruitfulness from one seed than the other? It is because one is planted in soil that is prepared to receive the seed and the other is planted in soil that is not prepared.
So, why is it that you can take two people, put them in the same church service - where they hear the same message - yet, one person gets blessed by it and the other person says he didn't get anything out of it. It is because one heart was prepared and one wasn't.
James says there are four "hearing aids" that help us receive the Word of God --
1. Be careful. "Be quick to listen, slow to speak ..."(James 1:19 NIV)I must have a careful attitude. Many of our problems are caused because we're quick to speak rather than being quick to listen. Be ready. Be intent to receive God's Word.
2. Be calm. "And slow to become angry ..." (James 1:19 NIV) Be calm if you're going to receive God's Word and be blessed by it. A relaxed attitude increases receptivity. If you're relaxed, people can communicate with you more. We don't hear much when we're angry, upset, bitter, or resentful. Bitterness is a barrier, an emotional block that keeps us from hearing God's Word. Some may ask, "How come God never speaks to me?" Maybe you've got some resentment in your life you need to get rid of.
3. Be clean. "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent ..." (James 1:21 NIV) When you have a sin in your life, it blocks your hearing and prevents God's Word from getting into your heart. He says get rid of the evil, anything that we know that isn't right in our lives.
How can we be clean? By confession. "If we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong." (1 John 1:9 NLT)
4. Be compliant. "Humbly accept the word of God planted in you ..." (James 1:21 NIV) Be teachable, yielded, humble, willing to be changed. Don't act like you know it all. If you know it all, God's Word can't get through to you.