Previously in part I, we examined the fact that some people are like the path – they never grasp the Word, never fight for the Word, and so it leaves their life and it is as if they never heard it.
In part II, we saw that some people are rocky ground. They receive the Word of God into their emotions and not their re-born spirit. Because of this, the moment their life becomes difficult or the instant someone criticises them because of the Word of God, they instantly get offended and leave the Word alone.
The question we must now answer to help you and help other people is this: how can we ensure that when we hear the preached Word that we receive it into our spirit and not simply into our emotions.
The answer is found in this Scripture in James:
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1.21)
The way for you to receive the Word into your spirit is to:
1. Rid yourself of all filthiness
2. Rid yourself of all naughtiness
3. Receive the Word with meekness
Filthiness is essentially anything that is wicked. One of the easiest ways to ensure the Word of God has no effect on your life is to do things and watch things you know are wrong. I am not going to lay a heavy on anyone – but you must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and you must get rid of filthiness.
Naughtiness is such a mis-used word in our society, it provokes images of someone being a little off, or a little crude. However, in this verse it means a desire to hurt people. You must rid yourself of every desire you have to hurt or use other people. Every time you have thoughts of hurting people, you need to reject those thoughts.
Finally, and most importantly, you need to receive the Word of God with meekness. Meekness is the ability to take second place to something else – to allow someone else to go first. It is one of the lost virtues of society, often today seen as a sign of weakness. Even today on the bus, a man told me to grab my seat quick or people would skip ahead of me on the queue. He said he would skip ahead of me. I said I didn’t mind if he did.
When it comes to the Word of God, meekness means that if your opinions and ideas disagree with the Word, you ditch your opinions and your ideas, and you don’t ditch the Word. If we take healing as an example again, if you read “He bore my sicknesses”, don’t try and rationalise it with your opinions – ditch your opinions and put the Word first in your life.
Every great revival, every great revelation contradicts your thoughts and your opinions. The Reformation of Christianity began when Martin Luther put aside his thoughts and his opinions and realized that “The just shall live by faith” means that “The just shall live by faith.” Pentecostal Christianity started when people realized that “They spoke with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance” meant exactly that.
There are still Christians today who don’t believe that we are justified by faith alone, still Christians who reject and mock the gift of tongues. Don’t be like that – receive the Word meekly. If the Bible says you are healed (it does by the way, many times over!), receive it.
Let’s not be stony ground Christians any more, and let’s receive the Word deep in our hearts so that we are Christians not just in the excitement of a church on Sunday, but in the midst of affliction and persecution.
Tomorrow, we will look at how to deal with a thorny issue…