When you hear the term Word of God, what comes to mind? I’ve been posting from the first chapter of the book of James – the first New Testament Scripture to be written. Our understanding of the Word makes a difference in how we view what James is saying.
I’m convinced that when James talks about the Word, he’s not talking about Scripture, since the New Testament hadn’t been written yet. He’s talking about hearing a Word from God, either through your spirit in prayer or by anointed preaching and teaching.
I believe that it was this truth that made the difference in the lives of those early believers. I also believe that the next move of God in the church will be the restoration of our ability to hear a Word from Him on a consistent basis.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
This verse follows right on the heels of James telling us to accept the Word planted in us, which can save us. Now we’re told how to accept it.
The key word in this verse is listen. The word he uses is hearing – one of the five senses. Notice that he didn’t say we were not to merely read the Word. This is a Word that has to be heard.
There’s another point that we gloss over. If this is the first Scripture of the New Testament, and if James was referring to Old Testament Scripture when he talked about the Word; then he’s telling us to do what the Old Testament says.
That would mean we were to continue the sacrificial system and all the Law of Moses. We know for a fact that this goes against everything that Christ accomplished on the cross.
So when James tells us not to deceive ourselves, that’s not really our problem. Many believers aren’t even hearing a Word from God, let alone hearing and not doing.
The normal Christian thinks that it’s the job of the pastor, teacher, or minister to hear from God. It’s never been God’s plan to have an exclusive club of special people who hear His voice. God even made that clear to Israel.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”
God’s plan was for all His people to be His priests. It wasn’t until Israel became afraid at the foot of Mt. Sinai, that they told Moses not to let God speak to them anymore. The Lord wants a people who will hear, listen, and respond to His voice.
We wonder sometimes why there was such a manifestation of the miraculous in the early church. It’s not because God changed His way of operating. It’s because His people stopped listening to His instructions.
When we spend time in God’s presence, we hear the Holy Spirit speaking to us. Then, when we follow through on what we’ve heard, we enter the realm of miracles. We start to see the power of God active in us on a consistent basis.
I believe that this is where the Lord is leading His church in our generation. Be a part of what God is doing. Spend quality time in His presence, listening for His voice.
Question: How much time do you spend before God just listening for His voice?
© Nick Zaccardi 2017