Are you a sponge or a brick?

I have been teaching the past couple of weeks on John 15. It is definitely a rich passage.  Take a second and read this:

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 

This passage is one of Jesus’s last teachings to his disciples pre resurrection. He emphasizes the importance of remaining in him despite the difficult seasons that are in their near future. He knows the cross is coming, he has warned them about the cross, but like most of us we seem to let God’s words go in one ear and out the other. Why? Because we do not follow verse 7. We do not let God’s words remain in us. Other versions say abide. Does God’s word take residence in you? Does it flow from your heart? Does it flow from your mouth? Does it float around in your mind? Or do you hear and then immediately forget. God’s word is not meant to be simply listened to. It is meant to be examined, and in fact you are to be examined by it.

Its as if a doctor is giving you your physical. The Word is the doctor who is reading your pulse, checking your vital signs, and prescribing you its dosage. You need a Psalms 1 for that, and Ephesians 6 for that condition, a Psalms 34 and 27 for that worry. I want to give you two ways to let his word stay in you.

The first way is to read it. Some of you might be like duh? But let me clarify what I mean by read. I’m not just talking about reading devotionals, though they are beneficial. I’m talking about picking a book like John and reading through it. There’s something about letting the Bible speak to you on its own. Read it first without any other voices telling you what it says. I know sometimes it seems intimidating, but there are a variety of different versions and helps to help you understand it. But the first step is to crack open your bible or bible app and begin reading a couple verses lets say around 7. When you read them, read them slowly and begin to think about what is the word saying. If possible get out a commentary or search one online and get some background on the passage. Biblegateway.com is a good place to read or another site I like if I want to look at some quick commentaries is  http://bible.cc.

You should ask questions while reading or after reading like Who was writing it, to whom was it written. What was the person going through? What message are they trying to communicate? What does this message say about God? What does it say about the people of God? Then you begin to apply the principle to your life, or your situation. The second quick step to keep the word in you is by talking about it.

I want to show you a quick passage that I am still learning to incorporate in my family.

Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9 Msg)

How often do you talk about the word? I’m not just talking about at church or in Bible study, but incorporating the Word in your home. Read the word to your kids, talk about it, talk about it to your wife. Share your devotions and your prayer requests. Share with your other brothers or sisters in the faith how you were blessed by a certain passage. The more we are exposed and process the word through speech, critical thinking and critical listening,the longer it stays with us. This also goes with sermons as well. If you do not talk about the sermon your pastor gives, or read your notes or pray for wisdom concerning the message you most likely will forget it. The key word is meditation. Meditation involves repetition, it revives soaking it in, and releasing.

I know many of us are going through different difficulties, but when life squeezes us what comes out of our mouth? Is it complaint, is it fear, is it worry or is it his word. Get God’s word in you because it is what will sustain you during the times of stress. Surround yourself with God’s people so that when you are becoming dry you can soak up some of their word.

So are you a sponge who absorbs the word and lets is seap through its pores, or are you a rock that hears the word and it slides right off your back? I want to conclude with Jesus’ word. Let his words remain in you. Keep them in your mind, your heart, your tongue and your home for the more you do you will find Jesus sitting with you in your midst. Amen

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