In America, you can find the Bible all over, from grocery stores to motel rooms, in all shapes, sizes, styles, and translations. You can hear and read parts of it on the radio and TV and in books and magazines. It’s everywhere, yet many people still miss the blessings of the Bible.

Why? Because its blessings are not automatic. James 1:21 says that to be blessed by the Bible, you have to “accept the word planted in you” (NIV). The word “accept” in that verse comes from a Greek hospitality term that means “to welcome.” If you’re going to be blessed by the Word of God, first you must welcome the Word into your life.

James says you must welcome God’s Word with four specific attitudes.

First, be careful. He says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak” (James 1:19 NIV). God gave us two ears and one mouth; we ought to listen twice as much as we talk. Being quick to listen and slow to speak gives you a careful attitude that’s ready to receive God’s Word.

Second, be calm. The next part of James 1:19 says, “and slow to become angry” (NIV). When you’re angry, you can’t hear much. But a calm attitude increases receptivity. When you’re getting ready to hear the Bible—whether that’s at church or in your own reading—take some time to prepare and make your heart calm, so you’ll be able to hear God when he speaks.

Third, be clean. James tells us to “get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent” (James 1:21 NIV). The word “filth” here is actually a Greek word meaning “earwax.” When you have sin in your life, it blocks your hearing of God’s Word.

How can you clean out that filth? By confession. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Fourth, be compliant. James says you should “humbly accept the word planted in you” (James 1:19 NIV). Be teachable and surrendered to God. If you come to be Bible with a know-it-all attitude, his Word can’t get through to you. Come to the Bible with a willingness to be changed.

Are you ready to welcome the blessings of God’s Word into your life? Come with a careful, calm, clean, and compliant attitude. That will prepare you to receive God’s Word and welcome the blessings it promises.

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