How is our attitude to the Word of God? Paul remarks to the Thessalonians that we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe (1 Thess. 2:13). Are we, like the Thessalonians, receivers of the Word, as the word of God or are we rejecters of that word?
We need to establish in our minds first of all that the Word of God is wholly relevant to us. It is a book which we need to have in our lives so as to live a life which is for the glory of God. Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path (Ps. 119:105). is how the psalmist sets forth his personal need of the Word. Paul, in 2 Tim. 3:14-17 reminds Timothy of how the Word is needed to bring us to Christ and then how it has everything to help us live for Christ.
The Word of God when soberly assessed is seen to be essential for our lives. However, like when someone is prescribed essential medicine by his doctor only benefits when he takes it, so we only benefit from the word when we receive it. And when it is received it brings blessing.
But what do we need to have in order to receive the word? We need to have faith. In Hebrews 4:2 we read these words addressed to the Hebrew Christians For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed. The writer here is referring back to the Israelites who came out of Egypt and how they received no blessing from the Word because they did not have faith. If there is no faith then there will be no benefit from hearing the word. The healthy order is for us to accept the Word as the Word of God, to realize our need of that word and to accept it into our lives. When this happens we are displaying faith. However, for there to be true faith there has to be an attitude of humility.
Alas the whole process so easily gets re-railed because of a lack of humility. Pride is the problem. A multitude of reasons can be the immediate cause of our rejecting the Word of God, but the ultimate cause is pride.
When we are truly humble we are committed to having the Word enter our lives. When we are proud we do not want to be troubled by the Word; we want to rule our lives ourselves. However, this becomes very awkward for those whom profess to be Christian. How can they reconcile being a Christian with resistance to the Word of God? One way of doing it is to just allow the Word to affect us externally so we get surface transformation and not heart transformation. But God is a “heart surgeon” and not a “cosmetic surgeon”. And the indispensable surgical instrument he uses to change hearts is the Word of God. We ask the question then do we want the word to get under our skin or do we just want a little skin massage?
It is pertinent to note that when there was a great transformation in 3,000 lives on the day of Pentecost we read that When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart (Acts 2:37a). It does not say that they were cut in the skin! Real transformation comes when the Word reaches our hearts.
The Pharisees were masters at making sure that the Word only had a cosmetic effect. In Mark 7:13 the LORD condemns them by saying you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. Immediately before this statement the Lord had exposed their trickery in how they adopted a strategy to get around the commandment to honour your father and mother. They wanted to put on a show of obeying the Word, but it was all cosmetic. Are we guilty of this? God wants to do heart surgery. Are we willing to go “under the knife”? And in all this remember that the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
Will we then receive or reject the Word. We profess to be a Word of God church. Are we really a Word of God church? As we ponder such a question individually and collectively let us remember:
- When we truly receive the Word it always leads to blessing.
- We must pray to the LORD that His Word would reach our hearts.
- We must be humble before God and His Word. Any pride stops the blessing.
(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of October 2011)