Take it to Raise

I have two pets. The first is a sweet, fluffy, tan and white Shih tzu named Calli. I brought Calli into my home 13 years ago when she had barely grown her first teeth and could easily fit into my hoodie muff. The second pet is a beta fish named Shine that belongs to my niece, Maddie. Shine came to “visit” me a couple of years ago AND NEVER LEFT. Honestly, I don’t mind Shine. She is low maintenance, pretty to watch as she floats around her home, and gives me a since of accomplishment with each day that she doesn’t die. She has little impact on my life.

Calli, on the other hand, is very high maintenance. Over the years, I have trained her, groomed her, adjusted her diet as necessary, paid for her medical care, administered medication, arranged for overnight stays and doggy socialization, bought her toys, played with her, walked her, given her affection and attention. I have raised her. She has had a great deal of impact on my daily life. 

My mind wandered to these two colorful pixels in the picture of my life as I taught James 1:21 in Bible study this week. James instructs his readers to put aside “all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness” and “in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”

The word receive used here is a Greek word that means to take it as your own. This word is also translated with the sense of taking someone into your family to care for and educate. We have received the Word of God. It is in our life, available and as abundant as we will allow. God has not been slack in providing everything that we need for salvation, both eternally and daily. However, like a seed planted in a garden, this word is to be fully received, taken in and made part of the soil in which it was entrusted. God’s Word is to be tended and nourished in our lives. We meditate, contemplate, and restate it so that it blossoms, grows, and fills us with the fragrant aroma of praise to our God.

Many of us treat this treasured gift like a beta fish - it’s harmless, un-intrusive, and sometimes pleasant to my life; however, it makes very little impact on my choices, rarely makes it way into my thoughts, and requires almost no effort or commitment from me. However, James reminds us that knowing and submitting to the Word of God is the way we walk forward in His righteousness and please Him as a faithful doer. We go all-in in humble research, study, and prayer knowing that God will give us understanding so that we can give Him glory.  

Allison D. Wilks