How to be blessed by the Bible
The Bible is called the ‘perfect law’ (James 1:25) because it's exactly what I need. It promises freedom and it promises blessing. James gives us three steps on how to be blessed by the Bible and be a doer of the word.
THREE STEPS ON HOW TO BLESSED BY THE BIBLE
1. I MUST RECEIVE GOD'S WORD IF I'M GOING TO BE BLESSED BY IT
James 1:21, "Accept the word planted in you."
If we're going to be blessed by the word of God, first we must welcome the word into our lives. We must be receptive.
James says it's planted in you. He gives the illustration of a garden and seed. The Bible, all through Scripture, compares itself to seed. Jesus told the parable of the sower in Luke 8:11-12, He said, “The word of God is a seed and it's planted in our hearts.” How is it you can take two seeds that are exactly the same and plant them in two different locations and get two different crops in fruitfulness? One soil is prepared and the other is not. One heart was prepared and one wasn't. James says we must receive the word of God with the right attitude.
He gives us four attitudes you need to be blessed by God's word. They are hearing-aides.
1. Be careful: James 1:19 "Be quick to listen…slow to speak ...". I must have a careful attitude when I receive and welcome God’s word. When I'm talking, I'm not listening. God gave us two ears and one mouth so we ought to listen twice as much as we talk. Be careful and attentive in your attitude.
2. Be calm. James 1.19b "... and slow to become angry ...". Be calm if you're going to receive God's word and be blessed by it. A relaxed attitude increases receptivity. If you're relaxed, people can communicate with you more. We don't hear much when we're angry, upset, bitter, resentful. Some may ask, "How come God never speaks to me." Maybe you've got some resentment in your life you need to get rid of. What is your emotional state, normally, when you come to church on Sabbath morning? Do you come with a calm attitude?
3. Be clean. v. 21 "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent..." Before you can plant the seed you need to do a little weeding. The word "filth" that he says you've got to get rid of is actually the Greek word that means "earwax". When you have a sin in your life it blocks your hearing. It prevents God's word from getting into your heart. How can we be clean? By confession. John 1:9 says "If we confess our sins, He's faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." The Living Bible says "Get rid of all that's wrong in your life, both inside and out."
4. Be compliant. v21 "humbly accept the word of God planted in you...". Be teachable, humble, willing to be changed. He says don't act like you know it all. If you know it all, God's word can't get through to you. Pray, "God, do what You need to do in my life."
God says if you want to be blessed, first you have to receive it, be receptive with these four hearing aids. Reception is not enough. James says we not only need to receive the word of God, but...
2. REFLECT ON THE WORD OF GOD
James 1:23 "Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after looking at himself immediately goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like."
James uses an illustration here. God's word is like a mirror. God says a mirror reflects what we're like on the outside. God's word reflects what we're like on the inside. Hebrews 4:12 says, "God's word detects the thoughts, intents, motives and desires of the heart."
James gives us three practical ways to reflect on the word of God
1. Read it. v. 25 "the man who looks intently into the perfect law". The word "look" in Greek means "to stoop down and gaze in". Focus your attention on the word of God.
There are two ways you can look at a mirror. You can gaze at it or you can glance at it. All of us have done both. When you glance at it, you immediately walk away and forget what you've seen. It didn't do you any good. Give God five minutes. God says that He wants us to gaze at the word. Look at it intently in detail.
Nine things to look for in God’s word -- S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S
1. S - Is there a Sin to confess?
2. P - Is there a Promise to claim?
3. A - Is there an Attitude to change?
4. C - Is there a Command to obey?
5. E - Is there an Example to follow?
6. P - Is there a Prayer to pray?
7. E - Is there an Error to avoid?
8. T - Is there a Truth to believe?
9. S - Is there Something to thank God for?
That's how you look intently at the word of God. Look at the details. James says we need to receive the word of God and then reflect on it, first by reading it and second by reviewing it.
2. Review it. v. 25 "...and continues to do so..." That means over and over and over. The Bible calls this meditation. When you think about something over and over, it’s meditation. Meditation means to think seriously about something over and over. If you know how to worry, you can meditate. Take a negative idea and think about it over and over, and it's called worry. Take God's word and think about it over and over, and it's called meditation. Psalm 119:97 "I meditate on your word all day long."
3. Remembering it. v. 25 "... not forgetting what he has heard.". Nothing will benefit your personal spiritual life more than developing the habit of memorizing Scripture. Psalms 119:11"Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee." Memorize God's word if you want to be blessed by it.
We remember what's important to us. Take notes, write things down. If you value God's word you're going to take notes on it. Hebrews 2:1 "Write things down so we don't let slip what we've heard." The United States Air Force did a study and found that we forget 95% of what we hear within 72 hours.
James says, “Receive God's word with the right attitude, reflect on God's word by reading it, reviewing it, remembering it.” But even that's not enough.
3. I MUST RESPOND TO THE WORD OF GOD
James 1:22 "Do not merely listen to what the word says and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." Practice. What good is a mirror if you look at it and don't do anything about it? We must respond to God's word, let it change us if we're going to be blessed by it. The test of maturity is not knowledge. The test of maturity is character. A lot of people have great Bible knowledge and they are spiritual midgets. I need to practice it, apply it, put it in my life.
Jesus said John 13:17, "Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them." Probably the simplest definition of maturity is to be a doer of the word. That's what it means to be mature. You do what the Bible says.
THREE EXAMPLES OF PRACTICING THE WORD
1. A controlled mouth: In v. 26 he says, “One of the ways you can know that you are a doer of the word is you have a controlled mouth.”
2. A caring heart. James 1:27a"Religion that our God and Father accepts as faultless is this. To look after orphans and widows in their distress." I help the helpless. Social concern, a caring heart.
3. A clean mind. James 1:27b"To keep oneself from being polluted by the world." Spiritual integrity. That is genuine Christianity.
James is saying that the blessing of the Bible comes when we start living it.