“Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV)
Let’s say you’re a gardener. You’ve learned that you can take the exact same seed and plant it in three different locations and get three different results. In one spot, you’ll get giant tomatoes. In another, you’ll get small tomatoes. And in a third, you’ll get nothing. What’s the difference? It’s not the seed; it’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.
The same is true when you hear God’s Word. Your heart has to be prepared for the Word. If you get up late, have trouble finding a parking spot, and are irritated as you rush into church, you’re probably not going to hear God’s voice! You’re not in a receptive mood.
That’s why you can take two people to church, set them side-by-side, and one will walk out thinking God really spoke to him and the other won’t get anything out of the service. The heart of one person was prepared; the other’s heart wasn’t.
The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19b-21 NIV).
For good reception, this passage teaches you have to have four attitudes:
You must be quiet. You can’t hear God if you’re talking.
You have to be calm. You can’t rush God. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to hear God. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My translation of that is: “Sit down and shut up.”
You have to be clean. Before you can meet with God, you need to take out some emotional and spiritual garbage. You need to get rid of the stuff that stinks in your life. You get rid of the garbage by confessing your sin to God and agreeing with him that what you did was wrong.
You need to be humble. Be ready to do whatever God tells you from his Word. A prideful attitude won’t work.
Talk About It
Why do you think pride is such a hard sin to confess?
What is keeping you from hearing God’s voice today?
Here are 40 ideas for serving your community while spending 40 days in the Word!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.