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What Does it Mean to “Receive the Word of God?”

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The Bible often discusses the importance of “receiving the Word of God.” In fact, it’s a concept that Jesus discussed in parables and directly over the course of His ministry. Understanding what it means to receive the word and how to put it into practice ensures that we’re opening ourselves up to the transformative power of Scripture. In order to fulfill God’s plan for your life, it’s important that you understand how to receive His Word.

As God’s people, we’ve embraced the fact that every word written within the Bible is true. That includes the words that the Bible says about itself. According to Scripture, one of the most important aspects about God’s Word is our willingness and ability to truly receive the Word.

In Luke 8, Jesus taught a parable about a farmer who went out to sow seeds to prepare for a harvest. The Bible says that as he sowed his seed, some of it fell onto a hardened pathway, and was quickly trampled down. Since the ground was hard, the seed couldn’t take hold, and it became “nothing but bird seed” (Luke 8:5). According to Jesus, some of the seed also fell into gravel. Even though it was better than the hardened ground, the gravel lacked the moisture that the seed needed to truly take root.

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Jesus continued and said that some of the seed fell into the midst of weeds. It may seem like if weeds can grow, seeds can grow, but that’s simply not the case. The weeds, which serve no real purpose choked out the sprouts that came from the seeds, preventing them from growing to full maturity. Finally, some of the seed fell into “good, fertile soil” (Luke 8:8). Jesus said that when the seed fell on this good ground, it grew and flourished until it provided a bumper crop.

At the end of His parable, Jesus told the crowd that if they would listen with their heart, they would understand (Luke 8:9). In a bit of irony, the disciples, the men who were closest to Jesus, came to Him and asked Him what the parable meant.

Luke 8:11 (TPT)
“Here, then, is the deeper meaning to my parable: The word of God is the seed that is sown into hearts.”

Over the course of the next several verses, Jesus went through and discussed what the different types of soil meant. For example, the hard pathway represented the hardened hearts of humanity who hear the Word of God but allow it to be quickly snatched away by the lies of Satan. The seed that fell on gravel represented the people who hear the Word of God and initially respond before allowing adversity to cause them to forget what they’ve heard. The seed that fell into the weeds was representative of people who receive the Word and respond to it, but quickly forget what they’ve heard because they become so focused on the things that make them anxious. Finally, the seed that fell into good, fertile soil represented those who hear the Word of God and allow it to change them.

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Hearing the Word and receiving the Word of God are two different things. Ultimately, the difference in hearing and receiving largely depends on how prepared the soil of our hearts is. Fortunately, there are steps that we can take to ensure that our hearts are good, fertile soil where the seed can take root and change us.

Study The Word

Revelation 1:3 (ESV)
Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.

Before we dive into the importance of really studying Scripture, let’s clear up a possible misconception. Yes, reading a single verse or chapter of the Bible is better than not reading anything at all. However, if you treat the Bible as something where “a verse a day keeps Satan away,” you’re treating the Bible more like a good luck charm than a living, breathing, lifegiving, life changing tool that God gave to His people.

One of the most important aspects of truly receiving the Word of God is to spend time every day truly allowing the Word of God to get inside you. In this verse from Revelation, John doesn’t say that we should glance at some words on a page and pat ourselves on the back for reading our chapter for the day. Instead, John was speaking of the importance of truly taking the Word of God in.

The best way to make sure that you’re receiving the Word is to make sure that you’re spending time every day with the Word. When your spirit becomes more familiar with Scripture, it is much easier for you to allow yourself to be truly changed by it.

Memorizing the Word

Psalm 119:11 (TPT)
I consider your prophecies to be my greatest treasure, and I memorize them and write them on my heart to keep me from committing sin’s treason against you.

David, a man that the Bible calls “a man after God’s own heart,” understood the importance of storing up God’s Word in His heart. The primary reason for memorizing Scripture and “writing it on his heart” was to avoid sinning against God. When we have Scripture written upon our hearts, meaning that it’s truly seared into our very innermost being, is that we are less likely to sin against God.

It’s been said that familiarity breeds contempt, but that’s not the case with Scripture. When we make ourselves more familiar with Scripture, we fall more in love with God. When we love Him more, we want to ensure that we don’t do anything that would hurt Him by sinning.

Christ compared the Word of God to a farmer sowing seed, so let’s revisit that concept. If you know anything about planting a garden of any kind, you know the importance of preparing the soil. When you memorize Scripture, you’re preparing the soil of your heart to receive more of the Word of God. That’s why being able to quickly recall Scripture is so important. It ensures that we live a life that is pleasing to God while also preparing the soil of our hearts to receive even more of His Word.

Sharing the Word with Others

Romans 1:16 (TPT)
I refuse to be ashamed of sharing the wonderful message of God’s liberating power unleashed in us through Christ! For I am thrilled to preach that everyone who believes is saved-the Jew first, and then people everywhere.

Finally, when we commit ourselves to sharing the Word of God with other people, we’re putting ourselves in a position to receive more of the Word in our own hearts. While Paul referenced the honor that he experienced of standing and preaching the Word, there are other ways in which we can share the Word with others. You may never stand behind a pulpit and share the Gospel, or that may be what you do. However, the honor of sharing the Good News with others is something we can all experience.

When you commit your life to sharing the Word with others, it not only softens the soil of your own heart, but it also dictates that you have to spend more time studying the Word. Sharing the Word is a cyclical process. As the Word of God goes out of you, you will need to take more of the Word of God in. When that Word (or seed) falls on the good, fertile soil of your heart, you’re equipped to share the Good News even more.

A Closing Prayer:

Father, first of all, I want to thank You for giving me a copy of Your Word. Thank You for preserving it through the years so we could reap the benefits today. Help me to prepare my heart so when I receive the Word, it will fall on good ground, and I can effectively share it with the people around me. I ask these things in the name of Christ, Amen.

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