Receiving the Word & Spirit, Day 12
We have touched on many things the past two weeks regarding the Word and the Spirit and how they reveal the Father to us. We know God wants to be heard and known, that He will fight for us, redeem us, free us from guilt and shame, and fight for us – all because He loves us. However, there is a prerequisite: we must receive them.
In His high priestly prayer, Jesus states of His disciples, "the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they have received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me" (John 17:8). The word receive is the Greek "lambano," which indicates that they took it to make it their own. It was not an academic, intellectual assent to what Christ was saying. Rather, they apprehended and seized it to make it the center of their lives.
In his epistle, James admonishes, "Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls" (James 1:21). Paul, in his letter to the Thessalonians said, "For this reason, we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe" (I Thes. 2:13). The Word is meant to be received in an attitude of humility, recognizing it is the truth that has the power to save. James tells us that "Even the demons believe – and tremble!" Faith that has not been applied to your life is meaningless. You can theoretically say that a chair will hold you up, but until you sit in it, you won't know it experientially. As we reviewed yesterday, the Word wants to be known!
But it's not only the Word that must be received but the Spirit. "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, every one of you and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38). The Spirit can only be received when once the Word is received.
Acts chapter ten records the account of Cornelius, a devout, god-fearing gentile, who, when he received the word from the angel to contact Peter, acted on it immediately. Not only did he send for Peter, but he also sent for his family and friends to be present upon Peter's arrival. That is faith! As a result, as Peter began to speak the Word, the Holy Spirit fell upon the listeners. They were so receptive to what Peter said the Holy Spirit didn't even require an ending altar call! This is the type of receptivity that we should have toward the Word of God. When was the last time you were so convinced of the truth of God's Word?
God wants us to welcome His movement in our lives. He desires us to be so receptive to everything He has said and says that the Holy Spirit can flow through us with an immediacy that meets our needs and those around us. He has freely given us His word, and we have the opportunity to receive it freely. "But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called 'Today,' so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end" (Heb. 3:13-14).
In my last post for this series, I bless you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I bless you with the tenacity to hold fast your confession of faith, the boldness to live it out, and the beautiful abiding presence of the Lord, ever at work in your life.