by Rick Warren — June 1, 2023
From 40 Days in the Word
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.”
James 1:19-21 (NIV)
Gardeners know that you can take the exact same seed and plant it in three different locations and get three different results. In one spot, you may get giant tomatoes. In another, you may get small tomatoes. And in a third, you may not get anything at all. What’s the difference? It’s not the seed; it’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.
The same is true when you hear God’s Word. Your heart has to be prepared for the Word.
Church service is a great example of this. If you get up late, have trouble finding a parking spot, and are irritated as you rush into church, you’re probably not going to hear God’s voice! Your heart is not prepared to receive God’s Word.
That’s why two people may go to the same church service, sit side by side, and hear the same Scripture read and sermon preached. One will walk out thinking God really spoke to them, and the other won’t get anything at all out of the service. The heart of one person was prepared; the other’s heart wasn’t.
The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you” (James 1:19-21 NIV).
Scripture teaches that, for your heart to be prepared to receive God’s Word, you need to have four attitudes:
Be quiet. You can’t hear God if you’re talking.
Be calm. You can’t rush God. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to hear him. The Bible says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” My translation of that is, “Sit down, and be quiet.”
Be clean. Before you can meet with God, you need to confess your sin to him and ask him to forgive you.
Be humble. Be ready to do whatever God tells you from his Word. A prideful attitude won’t work.
Next time you’re going to spend time in God’s Word—whether that’s at church or in your quiet time at home—take time first to prepare your heart. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes!