“For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.
– Matthew 13:12 (Jesus speaking)
We read yesterday that we should:
…pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it.
– Hebrews 2:1
This passage from Hebrews only tells us the downside of not paying much closer attention to what we’ve heard. In the passage from Matthew, Jesus tells us both the downside of not paying sufficient attention to what we have heard, but also the upside of giving it the attention that we should. Specifically, the upside of giving the proper attention to what we have heard is that we get to hear more!
The Bible is the text from which Jesus teaches us righteousness. Its central element is the record we have of His life, death, and resurrection in the four gospels. All other parts of the Bible support and give context to that central element. When we pay more attention to what we have heard, God has a foundation upon which can teach us something else. If, however, we ignore the foundation, what does God have to build upon?
Being a student of Jesus Christ doesn’t just involve classroom lectures – there’s “lab work” to complete. In other words, we read a passage of the Bible to go forth and practice it. In the practice of what we’ve read, we will learn some things. Maybe we’ll learn that we truly understood the passage. Maybe we’ll learn that we had no adequate conception of how to practice what we read. In other words, when we come back to the Bible after the “lab work,” we’ll either understand the passage better than we did before or realize that we hadn’t properly understood it. In either case, we’re not just repeating the initial process.
Being a disciple of Jesus is not a matter of accumulating a lot of facts about Him. It’s about working the truths of His life into our own. Therefore, we’re either going to keep going deeper into His teaching…or we’re going to relegate ourselves to skimming the surface – in which case we’re going to lose our grip on what we had.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord, let me dig down deep into what You’ve already taught me…so You can teach me more…(this is where you remain quiet to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.
(All scriptures, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the NASB.)