“… with humility, set aside all moral filth and the growth of wickedness, and welcome the word planted deep inside you, the very word that is able to save you.” (James 1:21 CEB)
What are the true necessities of life?
No, not at all. You’d be better off homeless, naked, and starving than to try to live without what God has to say to you.
Some live naked all of their life. Many live homeless all of their days. Nearly everyone could go a day without eating. But you would be a fool to live a single day without God’s word as your guide.
You must have air to live. How many breaths do you take a day, not even choosing to take a single one? The wind blows how and where it wills and God’s Spirit moves the same, but do you choose to not breathe the breath of heaven?
Scripture conveys God’s speech to you and what is more important than hearing and obeying God? Your growth in the life of God will be proportionate to the time and effort you put into welcoming the word of God into your will and ways. Yes, it can be put that simple.
But there are Christians who don’t welcome God’s life into their will and their ways and rest assured they:
- have become blind for they are unable to see their own deepest need,
- have grown lazy, wanting the benefits of relationship but without effort,
- are souls who have forgotten their Savior and Lord.
However, Christians who welcome God’s word understand:
- there are no shortcuts in the walk with God,
- God’s word leads a person to God himself,
- there is no substitute for hearing God speak to you and seeing him lived out through you.
This door of welcome opens with an attitude and atmosphere of “humility.” Welcoming the word with humility involves constantly reminding yourself of your place in relation to his word: you stand under it, not over it or beside it. You are the host of God’s word, and how you perceive and relate to his word is how you relate to and serve him.
The room of your heart is readied as you sweep aside “all moral filth” and any “growth of wickedness” you see unfitting for this word’s presence. Your good intentions are not right welcome enough; your life must make adjustments. The only way to grasp the essence of Scripture is to live what you learn from it and live it so as to learn it.
“Whoever desires to understand and take delight in the words of Christ must strive to conform his whole life to Him.” (Thomas a Kempis)
Believers who welcome God’s word into their life seek to be comfortable with his word and for his word to be comfortable with them. They ready themselves for this word’s arrival and eagerly look forward to it and this is how they do it:
- They throw open the doors of their heart and habits and so say, “Make yourself at home; my home is your home.”
- They are attentive and observant of the word, ready to serve the word they’ve welcomed. They say, “Here, let me get that for you” as the word brings need to light.
- They welcome the word because they long for presence with God and know that by listening to him and living for him they are saying to the God who speaks to them, “I’m so glad we can spend time together.”
So let me ask you plainly: how are you doing at actively welcoming God’s word into your life? Perhaps you need more time together. C.H. Spurgeon once said:
“There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write ‘damnation’ with your fingers.”
Change that! And here are some ways to do that:
- Get up a little earlier and start the day reading and praying over the word.
- Daily memorize a sentence or phrase you can meditate on throughout the day.
- Check out some of the many Bible reading schedules available online.
- Try listening to Scripture during your commute, jog, walk with the dog, or exercise.
- Download a Bible reading app (such as YouVersion or AcroBible) for your smartphone and use it when you’re in “downtime” (like standing in a checkout line at the store).
- Share a verse each day with others via whatever social networking site you’re into (Facebook, Google+, etc.).
- Make it a personal project to copy by hand (no typing allowed) a complete book of the Bible (such as James).
- Over a period of time, commit to perfect memory a select segment or paragraph of the word (such as Philippians 4:8-9 or 2 Peter 1:3-11). Even if you eventually forget how to quote it perfectly, you’ll be astounded how much of it comes to mind and at important times.
- Deliberately mention something you’ve encountered with the word that day with someone else that same day.
- Saturate yourself so with his word that you sometimes catch yourself falling asleep in bed thinking about his word and praying to its Author.
Yes, “welcome the word planted deep inside you” for this is “the very word that is able to save you.”