The Word Implanted
Bible Reading: James 1:19-27; Matthew 13:18-23
I planted a garden this spring–carrots, onions, beets, radishes, potatoes, tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers. Things are looking pretty good so far, though only the radishes have grown enough to eat. There’s a lot of work that goes into preparing and maintaining a garden if you expect for it to produce a good crop. It’s not enough to just throw some seed out in the dirt. The seed needs to be placed at the right depth with the right spacing. Then there’s the need to water appropriately and keep the weeds out. But above all else, one can only expect for things to grow if the seed is sown in good, well-prepared soil.
James alluded to such when he spoke of the need to “receive…the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). In the broader context, the verse speaks to the need to both hear and do the Word. It is not the forgetful hearer, but “a doer who acts,” who “will be blessed in his doing” (James 1:25).
To “receive the implanted word” it is first necessary to “put away filthiness and rampant wickedness” (James 1:21). Peter spoke likeness of the need to “put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander” before receiving the “pure spiritual milk” of the Word (1 Peter 2:1-2). Warren Wiersbe explained it this way: “The soil of the heart must be prepared to receive the Word. If we have unconfessed sin in our hearts, and bitterness against God because of our trials, then we cannot receive the Word and be blessed by it.” You’ve got to de-weed the garden before you plant the good seed, lest the weeds hide the sunshine and crowd out the good plants.
Just as seed must be received by prepared soil, the word must be received by a prepared heart. It must be received with meekness. The term was used in extra-biblical literature to describe a horse that someone had broken and had trained to submit to a bridle. It pictures strength under control, specifically the Holy Spirit’s control. The evidence of this attitude is a deliberate placing of oneself under divine authority. Meekness equates to having a teachable spirit. This is an aspect of the study of the Scriptures that is often overlooked. It is in humility that we acknowledge our need for Jesus and His Word. Humility is a gift of God in the working of the Spirit, whereby we rightly esteem ourselves to need Him. Just as we need Jesus always, we are always in need of His Word. We work the soil of a garden, softening the ground and removing rocks and such, with shovels and hoes and rakes. It is the Spirit who works the soil of our hearts, in ridding us of pride and self-reliance and turning our eyes to Jesus. Prayer plays an important role.
John Piper described it this way, “But James says receive it with meekness. When you open your Bible, say to God: I trust you, I submit to you, I need you to help me. Incline my heart to love your word. Open my eyes to see the greatness of what is really there. Satisfy my soul with the glory of Christ revealed in all of this book. I bow. I yield to the supreme truth and value of this book. In all meekness and lowliness, I look to you. I wait for you. Come to me through your word, my Savior and my Lord and my God and my friend and my highest treasure. That would be a meek way of receiving the implanted word.”
A heart open to God is soil in which the seed of His Word can flourish.Anonymous
BREAK THOU THE BREAD OF LIFE
Break now the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
as once you broke the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek you, Lord;
my spirit waits for you, O living Word.
Bless your own word of truth, dear Lord, to me,
as when you blessed the bread by Galilee.
Then shall all bondage cease, all fetters fall;
and I shall find my peace, my All in all!
You are the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
your holy word the truth that rescues me.
Give me to eat and live with you above;
teach me to love your truth, for you are love.
O send your Spirit now, dear Lord, to me,
that he may touch my eyes and make me see.
Show me the truth made plain within your Word,
for in your book revealed I see you, Lord.