Last week we were talking about hearing the word of God and applying it to our lives. It is important that we know that it doesn’t say that “everyone who reads my teaching”. Jesus was specific to say, “hears”. This is why last week I mentioned the importance of being in the right church where you can hear the word of God being taught clearly and in a way that you understand. You don’t have to like it, you just need to understand it. I can go to a Chinese service every single week and “hear” the word being taught but where there is no understanding, I cannot take the next step of then applying the word to my life.
We know that something happens to us when we hear the word of God. Romans 10:17 says, “So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” Faith is birthed in our hearts when we hear the word of God. That is not just hearing it but understanding what it being said and receiving it in our hearts. The Passion Translation puts it this way, “Faith, then, is birthed in a heart that responds to God’s anointed utterance of the Anointed One.” For us to respond, there must be some level of understanding of what is being spoken.
The example I gave of being in a Chinese church as a non-Mandarin or Cantonese speaking person may be extreme. The point I am trying to make is that someone can be talking to you but you just don’t get them. There are people who, no matter how hard you try to engage them in conversation, you can’t understand them or you can’t listen to anything they say past hi. You can’t be sitting in church day-dreaming or thinking about your grocery list.
You want to be in a service where you are engaged enough to hear what is being preached so you can respond. When we are in church and the word is being preached, that is God speaking to us. Giving us direction and instructions on how to live our lives. God is very specific. He can take the same message and speak to me about a situation I am facing at work, whilst speaking to someone about their marriage and speaking to yet another about their health.
I was raised in church and I have been to a few churches in my life. Not all churches are the same. I have sat in church services where I walked away feeling inspired but never changing. I have also been in church services where I was challenged by the word and I was equipped with not only the knowledge that I can be better but with the tools and the power to do better. Inspiration is good but transformation is better. God does not want us to hear the word and go home thinking, “Wow that was nice.” He wants us to go home asking, “God, how does this apply to my life? Shape me and mould me in alignment with Your word.”
So last week we learnt about the importance of hearing God’s word and applying it to every single area of our lives, our relationships, work, our character, finances, how we treat people – everything. To the extent that our lives or an area of our lives is submitted to the word of God, that is we have heard and applied the word of God, is the extent to which our house will stand strong in the flood.
The first step in that is finding the right church for you. We don’t get to pick our church like we pick our meal at McDonalds. We pray and we ask God to lead us to the church that is right for us. When He does, we trust Him with it, and we get planted in the church God has for us.
Love and blessings,