February 21

When I started playing the trumpet in fourth grade, my band
director told my mother that if I ever got serious, and really practiced, that
I could be a good trumpet player. He also told her that if I didn’t … I wouldn’t.
At the time, I didn’t like that man very much. You see, it was from that time
forward that my mother insisted that I practice my trumpet for at least
thirty-minutes a day.

My mother took the band directors advice to (her) heart. That
meant that it became the norm in our home. I had to come in from playing
outside just to practice for thirty minutes. I was forced to take that trumpet
along with me on vacation, and practice for thirty minutes a day. We went
camping, so there was really no place to hide! My mother was trying to force me
to become disciplined.

James gives similar advice to each of us today. “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and
superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which
is able to save your souls
” (James 1:21). We get hung up on the word, “superfluity.” It just means an abundance
of something. James warns that we need to put away childish, sinful behavior,
and put on a maturity in Christ for others to see. He not only gave us this
challenge, but he gave us the way to make it happen.

He said very clearly that the way for us to behave properly is to
receive with meekness the engrafted
word.
” There is no mystery about how we are to live godly lives in an
ungodly world. We need the Word of God. We not only need it in front of our
eyes, we need it to be “engrafted” in our lives, and on our heart. I love this
visual picture of a spiritual application of the Word of God.

When I was a boy in science class we were taught about “grafting”
one kind of plant into another. I thought it was fascinating. Our teacher
taught that each plant (that was to be grafted into the other), needed a “V”
cut. Those cuts would be matched up with the other. At that point, Vaseline was
rubbed around them, and something was wrapped around them to hold them together
for a time. After some time, one accepted the other and began to grow.

Every morning when I wake up, I open my heart
when I open my Bible. As I read, I am hoping that the truths I read about will
become attached to my life and make the changes necessary. If I expect to live
godly, I need the Word of God to become a part of my life. I want to grow in
Christ today!