Receive the Implanted Word with "Meekness"
What a remarkable exhortation: “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Ah, there it is: “with meekness”! Let me explain what this means by telling you what it doesn’t mean! Continue reading . . .
What a remarkable exhortation: “Receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). Ah, there it is: “with meekness”! Let me explain what this means by telling you what it doesn’t mean!
When I was a student at Dallas Theological Seminary in the 1970’s I was utterly devoted to the Word of God. I received it. I ate it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and for every snack in between. I digested it. I memorized it. I learned Greek and Hebrew so that I could “receive” it in its original languages. And then I turned and beat others over the head with it if they dared disagree with me!
The atmosphere on the campus of DTS during my days there was not a pleasant one, and I’m largely to blame for that. I argued and disputed and angrily insisted on my interpretation of what the “implanted word” meant and God forbid that you might disagree with me. If you did, duck. I greatly regret and have often repented for my arrogance during those days. Today we laughingly refer to such times as the “cage stage”. It’s that time in life when you need to be locked away in a cage lest you do irreparable damage to other Christians because of your arrogance and pride and argumentative spirit. Hopefully, by God’s grace, after a measure of maturity and humility have set nt, you can be released from the cage into the general population!
That’s the very opposite of what James is calling for. He tells us to receive the word “with meekness”! That means a lot of things:
Always remain teachable because you never know nearly as much as you think you do.
Always remain humble and open to the very real possibility that you are wrong in your views.
Always remain open to new insights and the perspective of even those with whom you disagree. You can probably learn more from them than you ever imagined.
Or, to put it in somewhat negative terms:
Don’t approach the Word of God with a spirit of suspicion. Rather, receive it as the Thessalonians did, not as the word of men but as the very word of God himself.
Don’t receive it with a cynical spirit or a critical spirit.
Don’t receive it piecemeal, as if you are free to pick and choose what you will believe and obey.
To receive the word “with meekness” means that when you open it and read it and hear it taught or preached you trust it, you submit to it, you bow to it and yield to its authority. Come to God’s word with this prayer: “Open my eyes that I might behold wonderful things in your law” (Ps. 119:18). Receive it with the heartfelt cry: “Oh, God, satisfy my soul with the lovingkindness of Christ that I see and hear in your word. Draw near to me through your word. Crucify my sinful inclinations through your word. Make yourself known to me through your word.”
To be continued . . .