“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”
James 1: 21, NKJV
Lately, I have been wondering if I am really receiving the Word of God. I am, of course, painfully aware that we are not simply to know the Word, but to practice the Word. And, it is in the practice of the Word – in the application of it to our life – that we demonstrate that we have indeed received it. But, there’s the trouble. It is one thing to know what to do and quite another to actually do it.
It could be that I find myself considering this more acutely of late because of the circumstances swirling in and around my life. Issues of health and wholeness in the family can force things to the surface as surely as three children six and under. Not that the circumstances that I am facing (good and/or bad) are because of my faith or lack thereof. Quite the contrary: I am aware of the truth that “[the Lord] makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5: 45b, NKJV). However, the way I receive both the sun and the rain is related to my faith – to how I receive the Word of God, which calls me to rest in the Lord – to voluntarily abdicate control…. And, that’s a real issue!
To receive the Word of God – to truly embrace the call of a disciple of Jesus Christ – is to forfeit control. It is to be “meek.” Of course, in my flesh, I hear that and I automatically assume weakness, but this could not be further from the truth. Biblical meekness is meant to reflect strength under command. It implies humility and self-discipline. To voluntarily abdicate control – to use my strength (the gifts and talents the Lord has endowed me with) – in the pursuit of His will, placing into practice the Word of God which He’s spoken, is the call of every disciple of Christ. But, this is easier said than done.
As a “dyed-in-the-wool” perfectionist, I prefer my own way (that is, in my flesh, I want to demand it constantly). And yet, Jesus is calling me to embrace a life of meekness – a life in which I am free to pursue His way and know the beauty and innocence, peace and love, joy and hope, found only in Him. To do that, I will have to receive His Word, meditating upon it and living it, testifying to the truth by what I do and who I am, which brings me back to my earlier statement: “Lately, I have been wondering if I am really receiving the Word of God.”
James tells us that we are to receive the Word with meekness. We are to become subject to the Word, allowing it to speak directly and specifically to our daily life. In that way, my strength is used, not to fuel my control, but to embrace the One who controls all things. So, even in those moments when life seems out of control, even when my circumstances seem less than favorable, I can rest in the assurance that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8: 28, NKJV)
Am I receiving the Word of God? Have I begun to embrace the “meekness” to which I am called? Have I been willing to relinquish control to Jesus? …