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Receiving and Responding to God’s Word

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:21-22)

God speaks to His people through His Word. Through His Word, the believer comes to understand who God is, what God’s will is, and how he must live according to God’s revelation of Himself and His Will. It is the foundation by which the believer stands and grows in the faith. That being said, God expects His people to receive and respond to His Word rightly. And in the book of James, we are exhorted on how exactly we are to do this.

Firstly, we are to receive God’s Word with meekness. You see, despite being saved from our sin and the penalty of our sins, the presence of sin will not be completely removed until our glorification. Being still in the flesh, we will continue to battle with sin and its consequences. But as children of God, God must deal with our sin. And God does this by continually using His Word to reveal our sinful thoughts and actions and lovingly leading us to genuine repentance and building in us deeper faith that will prompt us to obedience. To do this, God requires that we receive His Word with meekness. That is, we are to receive the Word with a heart that will humbly accept and submit to it. Without such meekness, the Word of God will only fall on stony ground and will not only lead to ignoring it, but rejecting it.

Secondly, we are to respond to God’s Word by doing what it says. Many people have heard God’s Word, yet only a fraction of them truly believe it. What differentiates those who truly believe it from those who only heard it? For those who truly believe God’s Word, we will see the application of God’s Word in their lives. The presence of God’s Word in the believer’s life bears the fruit of obedience to God’s Word in the believer’s life. It is not enough that we are merely hearers of God’s Word. After all, how can we say that we have rightly received God’s Word if there are no evidences of God’s Word displayed in how we live?

Dear believer, receiving and responding to God’s Word rightly is central if we are to honor the Lord in how we live. As we receive God’s Word with meekness, our hearts become teachable by God’s direction and dependent on God’s leading. And as we respond to God’s Word by doing it, this obedience becomes the evidence of saving faith. Receiving and responding to the Word of God rightly always come together. We cannot respond to the Word of God by doing it if we do not first receive the Word of God with meekness. In the same manner, if we receive the Word of God with meekness, it must always result to responding rightly by doing it. We cannot have one without the other. Therein is the dual expectation of God from the believer when it comes to His Word: receive it with humility and respond to it by living it out.

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