Monday, December 2, 2013

the implanted word

I'm mentally kicking myself for this cliché Christmas post. I say that so you know you don't need to do it for me, okay?

In the past few weeks, every friend I’ve talked to, every conversation I’ve eavesdropped overheard, every planning meeting I’ve sat in has sounded a little something like this:
“Ohmyword. It’s almost December. DECEMBER, people!”
“You should see my calendar. I am booked SOLID through January 1.”

“I cannot WAIT for Christmas to be over.”

Like Christmas is a punishment.
Like Christmas is a dreaded event.
Like Christmas is a nuisance or a hassle or—heaven forbid—a burden.

So, here we are—here I am—in this cliché of a post, because we need it.
James 1:19-21 (emphasis mine)
"Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to
, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness that God requires. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls."

The thing that sets us apart as believers is that the Word is implanted in us. When we walk with the Lord—like really live Him and breathe Him and know Him, His Word isn’t a thing we carry with us or toss around or take lightly. It’s in us. We let it penetrate our hearts and it takes over.
The Word changes things. 

John 1: 1-5, 9-14 (emphasis mine)
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. […] The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh
and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth."
The thing that sets Christmas apart from just any plain ol’ holiday is that the Word was implanted in us. The Word who was with God, the Word who was God, left the presence of the Father and made His home with us. He walked with us and talked with us and never once took us lightly. He became with us. He penetrated hearts and He took over.

The Word changes everything.
Christ didn’t come to send your December into a tailspin. He came to save souls—yours and mine and many. He came to dwell with us and change us. 
And if the Word has truly changed me, my attitude this Christmas should reflect that. My pace, my budget, my joy. They should all be telling of a great change.
In a season when so many are lonely, broken, needing, and hurting, how many opportunities to minister and serve are we trading in and giving up because we’d rather be frantic than faithful? I’m guilty of it, but I don’t want to do it anymore. I want to remember that the Word has been implanted. I want Him to take over and I want to make the right kind of trade.

I want to be slow to speak, quick to listen.
I want to be slow to anger, quick to show compassion.
We can be slow to spend, quick to give.

We can be slow to fill our schedules, quick to pour into others.
The Word can change anything.