Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statues, And I shall keep it to the end. (Psalm 119:33 NKJV)
My half marathon is just over a month away. One. Month. Away. Last week, I ran 7.3 miles and was feeling pretty good about my mileage, until I did the math.
13.1 – 7.3 = 5.8
Did I mention I never liked math? (Hence, I teach English.)
The good news is I’m over half way there. The bad news is that I almost need to double last week’s distance to reach the finish line. *Groans*
Don’t worry. I’m not quitting. I will cross that finish line. There just might be some teeth gritting, blisters, and tears.
Sometimes, my walk with God requires the same resolve. Let’s be real. In our Christian lives, we all face obstacles, trials, and temptations. If we throw in the towel when those hit us, we might need to examine if our faith is genuine or fake (like we talked about earlier).
I’m convinced the way to press through any circumstance is to put down deep roots in God’s Word. A few weeks ago, we looked at the reasons we need God’s Word. Today, let’s identify some common responses to it and examine our lives to see where we fit. Do we take it for granted, or do we run toward it like the prize it is?
In Mark 4, Jesus told the parable of the sower where he describes four responses people have to God’s Word. I encourage you to read the whole parable and explanation in verses 3-20, and then check yourself against these categories.
#1: Wayside Listeners
“And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.” (Mark 4:15 NKJV)
To these people, God’s Word is all about convenience. There’s no real relationship with the Word Giver, and the Deceiver easily steals what little truth they heard. To them, the Bible:
- Is a nice story about a good man
- Doesn’t really apply to their everyday lives
#2: Fair-Weather Listeners
“These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness; and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.” (Mark 4:16-17 NKJV)
These people have good intentions. They enjoy hearing the “good news” of God’s Word, but there’s a disconnect between its relevance to their lives when storms or problems arise. To them, the Bible:
- Tells sweet stories for children
- Doesn’t solve their real-world problems
#3: Distracted Listeners
“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.” (Mark 4:18-19 NKJV)
These people might like some of what God’s Word has to say, but they’re not willing to let its message change their lifestyles and habits. After all, what’s wrong with a little fun? To them, the Bible:
- Is outdated
- Preaches a doctrine that’s too narrow-minded
#4: Active Listeners
“But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred.” (Mark 4:20 NKJV)
These people don’t just listen. They do what the Bible says. They search it to learn how to deal with confusing decisions, how to understand God’s will, and how to make a difference in their world. To them, the Bible is:
- An irreplaceable lifeline to God
- A must-have for all decisions
Let’s ask ourselves: Do we run toward God’s Word in good and bad times or only when it’s convenient? What kind of biblical listener are we?
Yes, the race is hard, and often, the training hurts. But that doesn’t mean we should quit.
Dear Lord, I want to run in “the way of Your statues” until “the end” of my life (Psalm 119:33 NKJV). By your grace, I’ll cross that finish line and hear a “well done” one day.
What kind of biblical listener are you? – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)