Written by: Tim Wood
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21 ESV)
Pretend you’re a gardener. And you plant the same tomato seed in three different places. In one spot you get giant tomatoes. In another spot you get tiny tomatoes. In the third spot you get no tomatoes. What’s the difference? It’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.
The same is true when you read God’s Word. If your mind is distracted, if you are anxious or hurried, the seed of the Word will not produce the right fruit. It’s the same if you’re listening to the Word of God in church. If you get up late or if the kids are giving you fits on the way to church, your mind is not prepared to receive the Word of God. This is why two people can go to the same church and hear the same message and one will walk away feeling blessed and the other nothing. One person had a prepared heart and the other did not.
So how can we prepare our heart to receive the Word of God? Our Scripture reading in James gives us some great counsel.
First, be quick to hear and slow to speak. You can’t hear God if your feelings are doing all the talking. You must have the mindset that I am going to listen and receive a word from God.
Second, take the trash out. If you need to repent of a bad attitude; do it. If you need to say you are sorry to your spouse or kids; do it. “Put away all filthiness” so you can receive the implanted word of God.
Third, be humble. Be ready to do whatever God’s word instructs you to do. Don’t be prideful. Sometimes we read or hear the Word of God and we think, “I wish my friend could hear this.” The truth of the matter is I need to hear this. I need to receive the Word of God with humility. A prideful attitude won’t work.
The Word of God will save our souls but our heart needs to be prepared to receive it. Is your heart ready to receive God’s life giving word?