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Look Intently

This is my favorite scripture in the book of James! I love that it’s not about just reading the Word but living it out too. What does it mean though to “look intently”? In the dictionary it says, firmly or steadfastly fixed or directed, as the eyes or mind. We need to direct our eyes and mind to His truth of His living Word.

James 1:22-24 gives a good summary of the point he is trying to make. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and , after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.” Have you ever read a section of scripture and an hour later you can’t even remember what you read? Or have you listened to a sermon and thought as you listened to it, that it’s so good. But a day later you can’t remember one point in the sermon. That is merely listening or reading the word. This has no real value in our lives because it doesn’t stick to us and impact us on the heart level.

How can you and I look or listen intently so that we retain the truths? For me I need to write notes. I do best in remembering something important if I write down how it is impacting me personally. I also do well if I can take time to explain to someone else what I’m learning.

James wants us though to take it a step further than just remembering. He wants us to do what the word of God says. This is actually applying what we are learning to our daily life. It’s saying not only will I not forget it, but I’m going to seek to live it out.

How are you and I doing on living out the word? Are we consistent at it or are we lacking. Are are striving in that area or have we grown lax. I would like to challenge you today in your personal study of the word to take shorter segments of scripture to read and ask God these questions, How can I live this out today? How can I let your word bring true freedom to my life?

This is definitely a godly discipline that will help us on our journey with the Lord. The promise at the end of the scripture is that we will be blessed in what we do. Blessed! How wonderful in that?! Let’s choose today to read or listen to the word and do the beautiful exchange of living it out. I know you can do it! Take time to share what you learned today and what you are being obedient to apply in your own life. Let’s do it!

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Growing Up

Physically, you and I were once babies. We were fully dependent on our parents to feed and care for our every need. As you know, babies need frequent nourishment if they are to grow. I can remember when my youngest one, Ethan was born. As soon as he was delivered, he was placed on me and began drinking the nourishing milk that a mother provides. It was vital to his growth to continue to drinking milk, so early on he was being fed every 2 hours.

Spiritually we need to be fed as believers too. Not with milk, but with the living Word of God. When you were an infant you craved milk. As followers of Christ we are to long earnestly and yearn for the Word of Life. This nourishes us spiritually and causes growth and spiritual maturity. It tells us in Proverbs 30:5 that “every word of God is pure.” Hebrews 4:12 reminds us that “the word of God is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword..It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”

I’d like to ask you a personal question. How often to you read the Word? How is it changing you over time? Is it something that nourishes and sustains your life? I am learning that reading the Word is something I look forward to doing every morning. Over the years, I’ve worked at starting my day off with bible study, journaling and prayer. Connecting with the Father is a vital part of my life.

Scripture also talks about pressing on to maturing in our faith. As we grow from an infant to a young child we begin to eat solid food. Our bodies grow and develop and need more sustenance over time. Hebrews 5:12-13 tells us, “Anyone who lives on milk is still an infant and doesn’t know how to do what is right. Solid food is for those who are mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” Not only do we need to stay hungry for God and His word, but we need to be “trained to recognize right and wrong”. To grow in our discernment means to practice the Word.

What are some ways you can practically live out the Word in your life? How can you practice eating solid food instead of just drinking milk? I would encourage you to pray about it today and ask God where you are at in your spiritual journey of faith. As we read and meditate and grow in our knowledge of God let us “taste and see that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:3)