Hear and keep
But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28
Have you ever made the decision to stop a certain bad habit in your life? Maybe it was biting your nails or saying a certain phrase. Maybe it was something more substantial like a drinking or drug habit? Maybe it was something like eating less or exercising? What happened? Many times, people talk about quitting something, and are even successful for a day or so, but when they get back into the space of time that was used to put the activity in, they end up falling back into that bad habit again. It can become very frustrating and sometimes the pit of the pattern becomes even deeper and harder to get out of. It can seem hopeless and useless to try again.
In today’s reading, Jesus talked about an evil spirit leaving a person. I’m not sure how to relate to an evil spirit leaving, so I am going to equate it to a bad or destructive habit that is definitely in place because of an evil influence. Jesus said that when it leaves, it cannot find any place to rest so it comes back with even more evil with it. This is one of the reasons we can see people that seem to be rehabilitated, but after a short time they end up worse than what they were before the rehabilitation.
So why bother trying to change or what is the secret to true deliverance? The answer is in what Jesus told the crowd back then. He said those who hear the Word of God and then do it. The key to overcoming those evil setbacks and practices that seem to grip our lives and not let go is to replace that negative routine with God and His Word. There must be a plan in place ahead of time of what you will do to replace the undesired tendency with a productive pursuit instead. Of course, replacing it with time spent with God and His Word is the best replacement, but if you have several gaps in your day, you can replace that down time that sucks you into wasted and useless things with pastimes that will grow you as a person and propel you into a stronger Christian. Begin to make plans to read, journal or draw/artwork. Maybe you need to become more active, so you plan to do things like walk, take a hike or do some laps at the mall. You can even make yourself a bucket list and begin to do things you have always wanted to do, but never took the time to learn or go after. You do not have to do this alone either. Get yourself into a small group with your church or a serve team that will help you establish your goals and keep you accountable to accomplish them.
Mostly, this time is for turning away from the destructive pitfalls and walking toward a new direction that God has planned for you. A better way that will lead you into His blessings. As Jesus said: those who hear and keep God’s Word are even more blessed than the one who brought Jesus into the world.
Today I want to encourage you to take a close examination into your daily activities and pursuits. Are you chasing after the heart of God through keeping His Word or are you letting the habits and routines of life dominate your days? Decide today to walk in all the blessings that God has planned for you and fill up the dead spaces in your heart with His life giving Word. Make a plan to pursue all that God has for you and ask Him to help you find your community to maintain your blessed place.
Today’s scripture reading: Luke 11:24-28
24 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’
25 And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order.
26 Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
27 And it happened, as He spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You, and the breasts which nursed You!”
28 But He said, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”