The Missing Ingredient?
Hebrews 4:1-2 Therefore since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it.
In Hebrews 4, the author is talking about those that left Egypt with Moses in the Exodus. They were unable to enter into God’s rest because of their sin and disobedience, all stemming from their unbelief. They heard God’s word; they just didn’t believe it. The Lord offers us in Christ that same rest, but we are challenged like them to add faith to our hearing of God’s word.
We’re all guilty of sometimes reading God’s word superficially, sufficing to just let it remind us of Bible stories and promises. It’s good to study His word, and good to be reminded of what we already know. But it is how we interact with what we read—the word we “hear”—that counts.
Have you ever read God’s word and said, “That’s nice”? Or, “That’s good for others, but not for me”? Or did you simply gloss over it dutifully in your quiet time, not really absorbing and certainly not applying it? We all have at one time or another.
Anyone who’s spent any time in the Scriptures knows those moments when God’s word leaps from the page into our hearts and minds. Perhaps we’re illuminated, or perhaps we’re convicted. Those are moments when the Author of the Book presents His word personally to us. Those moments are gifts, and we receive them gratefully.
Yet those “rhema” words are generally few and far between. It is our responsibility the rest of the time to mix what we read with our faith, personally receiving His word. Do you do that?
When you read the Bible, are you looking for the word that jumps off the page, or are you bringing your faith to what you read, receiving His word as truth and believing that it has some spiritual application, at least somewhere? To do that, we often have to wrestle with his word, as it sometimes challenges us to the quick. We may have to do a little more study to understand exactly what a passage means. Or we may have to meditate on it to see how that word might apply to us today. Or we may simply have to submit to the fact that His word applies to us, no matter what it stirs up inside our hearts and minds.
How about at church? Do you bring your faith to sermons? Do you expect to hear a word that edifies and encourages, or even challenges? Or has familiarity bred not contempt, but complacency, or even judgment, where our pride leads us to place ourselves over the word instead of under it? If you do the latter, you’re mixing the word with unbelief, and you’ll receive little. If you do the former, and mix your hearing with faith, you’ll receive His word, and be changed.
Prayer: Father, I’ve read far too much of Your word and hear far too many sermons and teachings that I haven’t mixed with faith. Please forgive me for that. I want to enter into everything you have for me. Show me how to mix my faith with every category of word from You that I hear.