Updated: Nov 27
We have been taught the importance of hydration. We know from experience its positive effects, such as better alertness and more energy; and the negative effects of dehydration, such as headaches and tiredness. In the same token, we have been taught the importance of keeping our souls hydrated with the Word. But have we tasted for ourselves its positive effects (such as the power and authority of the Word demonstrated in our situations), and suffered from the negative effects of neglect (such as depleting faith, defenseless against sins and temptations, yielding to the flesh, grieving the Spirit, living like someone who does not know Jesus)?
One thing common in Christians who demonstrate bold faith regardless of circumstances, who have endless God stories that are amazing and current, who live worthy of Christ, steward steadily God’s callings, is their relentless consistency in living on the Word.
To “live on'' the Word is far beyond memorizing bible verses. These Christians ‘live on’ the Word to the extent that their lives depend on it, much more so than the way we live on our pay checks. “Living on” conveys an attitude of total reliance. It depicts the digestion and absorption of the Word to become key elements of a person’s thinking, yearnings, and desires. It is Spirit-taught-words integrated into words coming out of our mouths and works done by our hands. Once you have tasted it, you know you have to keep living on it.
If you seek spiritual growth and breakthrough, walking in the power and authority of the Word is essential by living on it. Otherwise, your spiritual aspiration is just wishful thinking of empty words. You do not want it bad enough to receive.
However, there are four attitudes that obstruct us from the receiving the power of the Word to live on it. They are far more common than we dare to admit. Can you identify?
Attitudes Impairing You From Receiving the Power of the Word to Live on It
Impairment #1: Seeking Information for the Head But Not Transformation for the Heart
We are so accustomed to the model of Sunday School that we automatically presume teachers teach by transferring biblical knowledge to students. Many Christians study and analyze the Word as a piece of classical literature. Studying, such as analyzing the historical or literacy context, is good. But when the Word only remains as head knowledge, this impairs us from receiving the life-giving power from the Word in our lives.
Studying engages the intellect and the mind to seek biblical information from the perspective of a third person. By itself, knowledge puffs up (1 Corinthians 8:1). Living on the Word involves our innermost being, our spirit and our heart, from the perspective of a first person, for the renewing of our mind, for the transformation of our heart, for the knowing of God’s will (Romans 12:2).
Apostle Paul said, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1)." A teacher teaches students to know. A discipler teaches disciples to obey (Matthew 28:20), from his own walk with Jesus. By modeling, he imparts firsthand spiritual experiences of the Word, beyond mere transfer of head knowledge. Obedience is the external expression of the Words taught to the mind, received in the heart, and with faith, triggered into genuine life changes. Many can teach. Only a few disciple out of their love for Jesus (John 21:15-17).
A teacher teaches students to know.
A discipler teaches disciples to obey, by modeling from his/her own walk with Jesus, imparting firsthand spiritual experiences beyond head knowledge.
Impairment #2: A Dull Mind and a Veiled Heart
When we ingrain an attitude of regarding the Word as optional instead of essential, we demote the Word to a secondary source of influence. For many, the Word is not a source of influence in their lives at all. We rather surrender to the constant demands of life and endless sources of information such as the social media as our primary sources that shape our thinking and mindsets. Thus, our appetite for the Word of God gets dull, making us spiritually blind, our mind and our heart are veiled, losing our spiritual senses of God's presence and His hands in our everyday life.
Just as Jesus described, "though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand (Matthew 13:13)." Jesus warned us against choking the Word by "the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth", making the Word unfruitful in our lives (Matthew 13;22)", keeping us slumber.
Impairment #3: Self-Obsession with a Self-Seeking Heart
We are prone to be obsessive of ourselves, reading the Word with a self-seeking attitude like people reading stripes from fortune cookies, seeking earthly benefits and comfort of this life. Our self-seeking attitude forms a filter for selective listening. We are not listening to the Word for fellowship with God for who He is, but too preoccupied to look for what gratifying our needs. We are too preoccupied in pleasing ourselves to have room left for pleasing God. Self-seeking mode gives no opening to be transformed by Him. We read the Word in a manner that we only hear what we want to hear. Our selective listening blocks out what God wants to speak to us through the Word.
Our self-obsessed and self-seeking attitude towards the Word impairs us from receiving teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) from the Holy Spirit, despite our diligence of complying to the daily ritual of reading of the Word, it still ends up unfruitful for our spiritual growth and breakthrough.
Impairment #4: Doubt and Unbelief
If you heard someone in your house screamed, "the house is on fire!", and you answered with your words, "I heard you", yet you continue to sit on the couch watching TV, eating pop corns, your response gives away your unbelief in the words you heard. Our spiritual reality lies in our actions prompted by faith as responses to our encounter of God's Word, the outward expressions of our heart. Our doubts and unbelief of God's Word and His promises are exposed by our actions of faith or the lack of.
Our spiritual reality lies in our actions prompted by faith as responses to our encounter of God's Word, the outward expressions of our heart.
Faith is not all or nothing, but often starts small, like a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20). With our little faith of believing God has power to do what He promised in His Word, then when He does just as He said, our faith brings Him glory. As these experiences happen again and again, our mustard-seed-faith is strengthened, and multiplies exponentially (Romans 4:20,21).
Attitudes Enabling You to Receive the Power of the Word to Live on It
Enabler #1: Know the Person behind the Word
All scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). We are not just reading scriptures as a piece of classical literature. You are not reading a book on your own, by yourself. In Jesus name, guided by the Holy Spirit, through the Scripture, you commune with God the Father. If you were called into a presidential residence to talk to the president of a country, what would your attitude be? Therefore, approach the Word in reverence to the Persons you commune with.
Enabler #2: Know the Power of the Word
Many of us read the Word of God like reading a newspaper, oblivious to the Word-power that came from the One who spoke the universe into being, created the world Word coming out of Him. The book of Hebrews also informed us that His Word is not only alive and active, but sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating into our spirit, the innermost being, judging the thoughts and attitudes of our heart (Hebrews 4:12,13). We must adopt an attitude towards the Word to have these expectations.
Enabler #3: Know the Importance of a Contrite Heart
When we approach the Word to dispute, to argue, to doubt, to invalidate, we come with a heart of unbelief and pride. Such attitude displeases God. The Lord said that He looks upon those with favor who are humble, who are contrite in spirit, who tremble at His Word (Isaiah 66:2). Only by approaching the Word with a contrite heart, willingly invite God to search our heart (Psalm 139:23), that we can receive His Word for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Each time we invite the Spirit to use His Word to judge our thoughts and attitudes of our heart (Hebrews 4:12,13), we can expect spiritual breakthroughs.
Enabler #4: Expect the Word to enable Faith, Faith to enable fresh encounters with God
Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith comes from hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). When we do not live on the Word, we weaken our ability to walk by faith, our lives show no difference with those whose lives do not have Christ. On the contrary, by us believing in the Word we encounter with obedience, demonstrated by our faith-actions, God is obliged to deliver His promises and work miracles among us, thus bringing Him glory and for us to behold His power.
Enabler #5: Expect Faith grows exponentially
Jesus said the knowledge of the secrets of the Kingdom of heaven has been given us. Whoever has will be given more in abundance (Matthew 13:11-12). All it takes is faith as small as a mustard seed and let the Lord grows our faith exponentially into bolder faith.
Enabler #6: Approaching the Word to expect the Spirit's Anointing
Anyone of us who are truly born-again by the Holy Spirit have the Holy Spirit living in us (Romans 8:11, 2 Timothy 1:14). The Spirit's anointing teaches us about all things. This anointing is real and not counterfeit (1 John 2:26, 27). Jesus promised us that by believing and relying on the Holy Spirit, who speaks only what He hears (John 16:13), we will be guided into all truth (John 16:13). This does not at all mean that we do not need teachers. Teach is an essential role for His Church (Ephesians 4:11). However, every time when I received a revelation of the Word through the Spirit's anointing, such divine encounters elevated my faith, making me tangibly felt the Father's love. They are special and left a mark in my soul. This is the expectation we should have as we approach His Word.
Enabler #7: The Word is the key to do good work His way, not your way.
Many Christians serve God in their own ways, using Jesus' name, only the fruit exposes a tree of the flesh. Ministries that bear good fruit are rooted in the Word, not just in the head but in the heart.
For example, Peter's mindset of 'ministry', by his flesh, disallowed Jesus' suffering and death. When Peter argued with Jesus over this point, Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God but merely human concerns (Matthew 15:23)." Without the Word to inform us, our ministries are susceptible to be guided by human concerns instead of the concerns of God.
Therefore, if we want to do good work that is pleasing to Christ as His servants, free from our own agenda of human concerns from our flesh, we must thoroughly be first equipped in the Word (2 Timothy 3:17). Be careful of partnering with others in ministries whose lives are not living on the Word. The serial bursts of church bubbles in brand name denominations, mega and franchised churches should serve as a lesson for all of us to learn from.
When you pivot from impairing attitudes towards the Word, and ingrain enabling attitudes, you will experience the power of the Word and start living on the Word. By His power that you receive through faith in His Word, spiritual breakthrough is bound to happen.
What other impairing attitudes towards the Word you have struggled through? What other enabling attitudes that unleash breakthrough? Let us know in the comment.
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