Receive The Implanted Word

— NICK HARSH —

In James 1:18 he writes, “Of his [God’s] own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” This is referring to our salvation. In kindness and of his own will, God gave us new life — he did this using the word. In the verses that follow (vs. 19-27), James shows us that, “The word that graciously and powerfully creates ‘born again’ Christians (v. 18) is also the word that demands deep-rooted and widely expressed obedience.” [1] When we are saved, we begin a life-long process of allowing God’s word to make us more and more like Jesus. The goal is to grow in our love and obedience to it. Notice, however, what James says about the word — he calls it implanted.

Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

It’s clear that James is referring to more than merely hearing and affirming truth. He is talking about something that has taken up residence in our hearts.

God saves people by means of the Spirit and the word. He intends to sanctify people by the same means — saving faith and sanctifying faith have the same parents. Therefore, it’s essential that believers receive the word with meekness on a regular basis. The goal is that God’s word would dwell in us — be implanted in us — in such a way that it changes the way we live. James is not describing an academic process. He is telling us what God uses to make you and I more like Jesus. Let me give a few practical ways to do this.

READ GOD’S WORD

It may seem obvious, but one of the best ways to receive God’s word with meekness is to read it. Yet unrealistic expectations can often frustrate us from making this a regular part of our lives. Sometimes we want our Bible reading time to be a nearly “transcendental” experience. We want it to be at the perfect coffee shop, with a pack of brand new highlighters, quiet kids, and a crème brûlée latte to complement what God is doing in our life. But let me encourage you, the goal of Bible reading is not that we would walk away every time having found our life verse but that we would grow in our understand of God character and be conformed to the image of his Son. Bible reading doesn’t have to be a hyper-spiritual event for God to use it in your life.

And, if you’re willing to commit 15 to 20 minutes a day, you can read through the Bible once every year. That’s about how long it takes me to make a cup of coffee in the morning.

LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD

Another practical way you can get God’s word into your life is by listening to it. Did you know that it’s not cheating to listen to your Bible? A few months ago, Pastor Cody recommended the Street Lights app to me — it puts God’s word to music. If you have the YouVersion app, you can listen to the Bible that way. Not only that but many artists have set Scripture to music — one of my favorites is called The Corner Room. They were recommended to me by Pastor Zach.

SERMONS/PODCASTS

Sermons or podcasts are another great idea. Whether you listen to our Soteria App or something else, this is a great way to receive God’s word with meekness. So perhaps once or twice a week, instead of listening to the radio on your way to work, you could listen to a sermon or podcast. It doesn’t have to be complicated. The goal is just to make God’s word a regular part of your life. Here are a few of my favorite podcasts.

MEMORIZE GOD’S WORD

Perhaps the thing God has used most in my life is Scripture memory. Over the years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to receive a lot of formal Bible training. Yet, the times that I have felt closest to God have not been when I was “waist deep” in a paper. It wasn’t the times I was trying to wrap my mind around participles or 3rd declension words in Greek. The moments I have felt closest to God were the times I memorized Scripture. Obviously, I am thankful for my education, but in most cases memorizing a passage of scripture has helped me understand it more than parsing or diagraming ever could.

I know for some this seems unattainable, but my experience is that 3 to 5 minutes a day is about all it takes to begin memorizing Scripture. My routine is pretty simple. Each morning (unless I miss, which absolutely happens), I read that weeks verse(s) ten times out loud. Then I close my Bible and go on with the rest of my day. That’s it.

Maybe you are one of those people who struggle to memorize — Bible memory doesn’t come quickly to you. Let me encourage you to just pick a verse — not three or ten, just one — and read it ten times every day this week. I think you will be amazed not only at how well you’ll remember the verse but at the ways God uses the implanted word in your life. And, should you find yourself unable to memorize the verse in a week, you will be no worse off for the time spent meditating on Scripture.

FACEBOOK < THE WORD

So often we think, “I just want to be more like Jesus,” while neglecting the means that God has given us to accomplish that. Believe me, I love Facebook and Netflix, but Facebook is not the means by which God wants to make you more like Jesus — the word is. So find ways to get it into your life. Find ways to let it dwell in you. So that when you aren’t thinking about what you’re thinking about, you’re thinking about the word. So that when you wake up at 3:00a Scripture comes to mind. As you receive the word in this way, I believe it will impact your life in ways you never knew it could.


[1] Moo, Douglas J. James. 2nd Revised ed. edition. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015, pp. 117.