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!

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