October 29, Monday

David KwonThe AMI QT Devotionals from October 29-November 2 are provided by Pastor David Kwon of Journey Community Church (Raleigh).  David, a graduate of Drexel University and Columbia International University (M.Div.) is married to Helen (“Pie”) and they have three beautiful daughters (Cara, Phoebe, and Ruth).  

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Listen”

Note:  We will be taking a break from the book of Jeremiah.  This week we’ll be looking at the parables of Jesus.

Matthew 13:1-9; 18-23

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. 2 And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. 3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear.” 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.  22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

Listening is a critical life skill.  I had a funny interaction with my oldest daughter a few weeks ago where I thought I heard her say, “Someone is at the door.”  So when I went to the front door and found no one there, I shouted back to her that no one was there. But when I went back to her she told me, “Ruth (our youngest daughter) spilled juice on the floor!”  Obviously I was hearing but not really listening to her, and I missed the point of her message!

In today’s text, Jesus emphasizes the word hear six times, pointing out that how we hear and receive the Word of God matters.  I want to briefly talk about the types of hearts He addresses and how the Word can affect or does not affect our daily life. (There are different interpretations as to whether the hearts are of Christians or non-Christians.)

  1. Hard heart – this is the person who is indifferent or even hostile to the gospel message.  They might find the message irrelevant and implausible, resulting in rejection of the message. (All interpretations probably agree that this person, having never believed, isn’t a believer.)
  2. Shallow heart – this person is initially excited about the gospel and even has emotions of joy but when hardship and trials come, the Word no longer has affect.  It never was rooted in the person.
  3. Distracted heart – this person may look like a believer, but because of the cares of the world and deceitfulness of wealth, growth takes a back seat to those other desires.
  4. Receptive heart – this is the person who is radically changed and grows because the gospel message has taken root.  No matter what things may come in life, the Word had priority and bears fruit.

When I study this passage, I believe Jesus is actually warning His hearers because only the receptive heart is actually saved.  The mark of a Christian is that they bear fruit (John 15:8), and if there is no evidence of that, we must ask ourselves, “Has the gospel message landed on receptive soil that is bearing fruit?”

Take some time and examine your life.  What kind of heart do you receive the Word with?  Do you see evidence of growth through the Word? There will be seasons in life where you will not bear as much fruit as other seasons, but the constant pattern should be that the Word is growing us. Pray that the Word would continue to bear fruit in your life.

Prayer:  Lord, may we be a people that continue to receive Your Word with receptive hearts.  I pray that You would help us identify and remove the other desires that can get in the way of growth.  Give us a deeper love for your Word. Amen!

Bible Reading: 1 John 1


Lunch Break Study

Read James 1:22-25: But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. [24] For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

Questions to Consider

  1. What does James emphasize when it comes to the Word?
  2. What is the result of being a doer of the Word?
  3. James uses a brilliant illustration of a mirror, showing what it is like when we are not doers of the Word.  What areas in our life are we just being listeners and not doers?

Notes

  1. James points out that it is not enough simply to know Scripture or godly teaching—knowledge alone is useless. We must desire to apply and “be doers” of the Word in our daily lives.
  2. The contrast here between the hearer and the doer is that the doer remembers the “law of liberty.”  The one who obeys the Word results in freedom and blessing.
  3. Think about how the Word affects your daily life.  Do we just know the Word and fail to live it out? Ask God to point out the areas where you need to apply this.

Evening Reflection

Today, we looked at the importance of the Word, and how we receive and apply it.  Take some time and read Scripture before you close out the day. Meditate on it and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace and strength to live it.  

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