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Luke 8: 21                  NIV

He replied, “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

Jesus taught how we can be one of his relations, or part of his family.  It is a two-step process.  First we must hear God’s word.  Second, we must put it into practice.  His brother James was listening.  James later wrote, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers, who delude themselves” (James 1: 22).  He said we are supposed to “receive the word implanted” (v. 21).

First we must each ask ourselves, “Do we want to be close with Jesus, even as close as a brother?”  Secondly, “What are we willing to do in order to achieve that personal closeness with him?”  Frankly, not everyone is willing to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus.  That’s okay, it is a personal choice but for those who do crave intimacy with the Lord Jesus he has shown the way. 

Jesus put an emphasis on God’s word.  He told us we must put ourselves in a position to hear God’s word.  Bear in mind they didn’t have the written word in abundance like we do today.  We can “hear” the word in many ways.  One of those ways, I would suggest, is in reading it for ourselves.  Furthermore, there is an incredible amount of free teaching available on television, radio and the internet.  Many ministers even allow people to download this content to their own device.  I find that remarkable.  What other profession gives away their work product for free?  We can hear great messages every single day. 

Brother James teaches us that we are to receive this word implanted.  When you hear the word, you must then receive it.  Just hearing someone speak the Word of the God won’t do a thing for you if you don’t receive it.  I believe James is telling us to plant the Word of God in our hearts.  This principle is well taught by Jesus in Luke 8: 15 where the sower sows the word to our hearts.  There are quite a few scriptures that speak about the relationship between God’s Word and our hearts.  Look at Deuteronomy 6:6 for example, “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.”  This is our starting place then.  We can’t do God’s Word if we do not first hear it and in that hearing receive it into our hearts.  This is not a brain game.  It is a matter of the heart.  What, then, is the condition of your heart?  Is it the good soil that Jesus speaks about in Luke 8 or is it hard like the stony ground?

Fellowship with Jesus begins with God’s Word.  Perhaps hearing that thrills you.  I hope so.  Maybe, though, you are one of those who does not want to give time and place to the Word of God.  I am very sorry because there is no getting around this one.  No amount of intellectualization, even, is going to provide an argument that supports that position.  We must all come to a place in our lives where we are willing to let Jesus be the absolute Lord of our lives and do, therefore, what he says.  Either he is Lord of our lives or he is not but if he is then we should follow his instructions and his teachings.  He came to give us abundant life.  That is all he is trying to do with his instruction.  He is trying to bless us but in order for us to receive the greatest of gifts we are going to have to taste humility.

As you turn your face to Jesus, soften your heart and receive his word implanted therein.  Then we can talk about putting it into practice.  Then we probably won’t have to.

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