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Words - It's Not Enough To Know

Words - It's Not Enough To Know

Mike Rhoades | Jul 16, 2018

Words have purpose, they have power. As a communicator, I can spend hours trying to find the right words to give weight and passion to my voice. But words, like many things in life, can be a double-edged sword. They can cut to the heart of your soul, stir up emotion and harness your attention. But even the most powerful words are reduced to hot air when heard but not acted upon.
“Knowledge is power” — Francis Bacon, philosopher
Recently, in a sermon, Pastor Francis Chan said, “Be careful when you can hear the word of God and do nothing because that can quickly become a habit.” That’s the thing about words or knowledge, simply hearing them or reading them empowers us. In the case of God’s word, we are entrusted with knowledge that can transform lives, change whole communities, conquer fear and lies, and even give life. It’s weighty stuff. Perhaps the most important thing about God’s word is that it will change your life. God’s word is meant to be life-giving. God’s word should move us to action, to change, to growth. To simply know something is of little value. Knowledge is a skill, a muscle, that needs to be exercised daily in order to maintain its effectiveness. As the learner/hearer of God’s word, we have a responsibility to do something with it.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” — Uncle Ben, Spiderman
In the Bible, James writes, “Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For 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. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.” (James 1:22-24, ESV) Paul called it “faith without works” and he said that kind of faith was “dead.” I think it’s because a strange thing happens to people when they stop living for something...they begin to accept their fate. BusinessInsider.com reported the story of a correctional officer who worked on death row in Georgia. In his words, “These guys would usually walk right up to the electric chair. They weren’t forced by the staff. By that point, they’ve already accepted what will happen.” These men and women had nothing left to live for. To put this in context, to hear God’s word, to experience His presence and then to remain unmoved to action is to accept our fate. It’s not dissimilar to a sports team that loses its confidence. The moment they stop believing they can win, the game is over. When God reveals Himself and His desire for our lives the question isn’t will it impact our lives but how. A vibrant faith lives in the understanding that without the intentional application of knowledge we forfeit control over the impact that power (God’s word) will have on our lives. It’s the understanding that words spoken and words received bear responsibility (Especially when they come from THE God of the universe). Because the truth, maybe the primary truth, is that God’s word does not return void. The impact on our lives is definite. By our actions, we make the choice to accept our fate or live for something bigger. It will not be for lack of knowledge that we miss out on God's best for us. When God speaks, how will you move?

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