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Leaning in to God’s Word

Leaning in to God’s Word

By: Alistair Begg - June 20, 2023

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” – James 1:21

Every so often someone might ask, “What have you been leaning against?” As I look at my clothes, it becomes clear by the residue left behind that I have in fact been leaning against something—something that has left a mark. And I resolve at that moment to be far more careful in the future about what I choose to lean on.

Spiritually, we must also be careful about what we’re leaning against. Just as we may become inadvertently dirty by leaning against a chalkboard, we are also prone to becoming morally polluted by “leaning against” sin. We should not be unaware of the evil that is so prevalent around us—and in us. It is all too easy to sin with our eyes and minds, realizing only when it is too late that the sin has left its mark.

Our attitude toward sin in the week will affect how we listen to God’s word preached to us on a Sunday. Moral filth is a barrier to listening to and profiting from the Bible. The way in which we come to the preaching of the word is so vitally important. Some of us come to God’s word covered in the clay of compromise with the world’s wickedness and filth, or marked with the stains of willful disobedience. We simply cannot act with such instability and still expect that we will receive anything from the Lord (James 1:7-8). When the word is preached Sunday after Sunday and some people in the congregation grow and mature while others do not, it speaks to the soil, not the seed.

Notice that James doesn’t tell us merely to pray about this filthiness but to get rid of it. How? By the enabling power of God by His Spirit through the word. As the psalmist wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word” (Psalm 119:9). The Bible acts as a purifying instrument. Day after day, committed to walking away from sin that we have all too often been leaning upon, we are to “receive with meekness the implanted word.” We may not understand everything, but we humbly accept and act upon what we do understand.

As you meekly receive God’s word, you are saved—today, tomorrow, for all eternity. His word saves you from the silent spiritual killer of hypocrisy. His word reminds you that He has saved you from sin’s penalty through the death of His Son. His word assures you that you are being saved from sin’s power and can choose righteousness instead.

What are you leaning against? Are there sins that the world around you accepts and promotes but which you need to walk away from? Come before God’s word today. Lean on His Spirit to be restored and revived. Receive His word, and rejoice that it has the power to cleanse!

About the Author(s)
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Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry since 1975. Following graduation from The London School of Theology, he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. In 1983, he became the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. His Daily Devotionals are presented here via a syndication agreement.
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