“TIME TO LISTEN UP!
We live in a time when listening has become a lost art. It seems that people are more interested in speaking their minds and asserting their right to be heard than they are in hearing what another has to say.
But the Bible tells us that listening is an absolute must for the Christian who wants to be transformed and conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. James tells us, “But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God” (1:19-20). While that’s good advice for anyone to follow in any human relationship, James is speaking specifically about listening to the Word of God.” “Sadly, most Christians tend to speak first, and when they do listen, it’s to everything but the Word of God. Only after they’ve exhausted every other option do they stick their noses in their Bible and find out what God has to say. But God wants us to do exactly the opposite. Instead of looking to human wisdom first, He wants us to be resigned to the truth of His Word, meaning that we accept it as the only absolute truth we turn to when we are seeking answers.
Christians cannot be truly transformed when they’re either too busy listening to themselves or listening to other folks talking. I’ve met with many struggling believers who tell me what their friends have told them, what their families have told them, or what their counselors have told them about their situations. They’re quick to talk and quick to listen to human reasoning and wisdom (as limited as that is), but far too slow to listen to what God has to say” “The apostle Peter wrote, “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation” (1 Peter 2:2). This is a beautiful word picture of how we are to desire God’s Word. If you’ve ever seen a baby nursing, you know that no one had to teach the baby to crave its mother’s milk. It is an instinctive hunger built into the baby that drives him or her to nurse.
But there is another point we need to take away from this verse. In this context, the word pure refers to completely undiluted. In other words, he is telling us, we as believers need to have a hunger for the absolutely uncon-taminated Word of God. We need a craving for the Word of God alone.
Unfortunately, people throughout the centuries have attempted to dilute the Word of God. They water it down, mix it in with human philosophy and reasoning, leaving a final product that doesn’t have the power to change and transform believers” “While good Bible-based teaching can be beneficial, there is nothing more important when it comes to spiritual nourishment of the believer than the Word of God itself.
Those of us who have eaten candied apples know that they can be a delicious treat. But what may not have crossed our minds as we’ve eaten them is that coating a pure, healthy fruit such as an apple actually dilutes or even counteracts the health benefits we receive from the apple itself. That’s because you’ve added what we all know is an unhealthy food—white sugar—to something God provided in the natural to nourish us.
That is exactly what happens on a spiritual level when we dilute the goodness of God’s Word. When we allow human opinions and input to water down the purity of what God has said to us in the Bible, we are in danger of counteracting or negating what He has to say to us.” “If we want God to completely change and transform us, we must be committed to the truth of the Scriptures. We must resign ourselves to every word of what He has to say through the written Word.”
vision, purpose, destiny,