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Read:  Mark 4:1-41

Focus: 
Then Jesus added, “Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given —and you will receive even more. To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.” Mark 4: 24 – 25

If you’re anything like me, you’ve struggled to read the Bible at times. Whether it’s because the language can be difficult to comprehend, the ancient culture is so different from ours that it’s hard to wrap your head around what is being described, you’re just having a rough day and nothing is sticking or some other reason, reading the Bible daily can be a challenge. Regardless, as Christians, we need to make reading the Word of God a priority in our daily life. Jesus gives us a very good reason in today’s reading. In the focus verse, He tells us the closer we listen to His teachings (or more carefully we read), the more understanding we will be given.

This “if you build it, they will come” perspective tends to fly in the face of our instant gratification culture. In our culture, if we can’t get something immediately (in this case understanding of what we’re reading), we have a tendency to just drop it and walk away; however, that’s the wrong approach according to Jesus – we’re told that taking that approach will result in what little understanding we have being taken away. Jesus tells us when we are having difficulty understanding His Word, we need to bear down, dig in, and keep plugging away.

God also provides additional guidance to us for reading His Word. James 1:5 is a verse I turn to in my own life regularly. In that verse, we are told: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you.” This verse is important because it acknowledges that as believers our knowledge is limited. When we encounter situations we don’t understand, we need to actively seek God and ask Him for wisdom. This includes when we’re reading His Word. The best way to prepare our hearts and minds for what God is going to reveal to us in His Word is to actively seek His guidance before, during, and after reading His Word.

How will God provide us with His wisdom when we ask Him? Jesus tells us in John 14:26 “But when the Father sends the Advocate as My representative –that is, the Holy Spirit— He will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” This means that the Holy Spirit is living in each and every one of us who has trusted and believes in Jesus as our Lord and Savior; that same Holy Spirit will give us the wisdom we ask from God, remind us of Jesus’ words, and continue to teach us how to apply Jesus’ teachings in our daily life. For that to happen though, we have a responsibility – we have to continually be dedicating time with God. We have to be reading His Word and seeking Him in prayer. As Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:7: “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”

Prayer:
Lord, thank You that You have provided us with Your teachings in the Bible and You give us the wisdom to understand them. I ask that You continue to fill me with the Holy Spirit to serve as my guide, counselor, and teacher. Please give me wisdom to understand Your Word and help me to make spending time with You in Your Word and in prayer a priority in my daily life. In Jesus’ name I ask all of this… Amen

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