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Garry spoke tonight about the power of the word of God. God acts by speaking; in the beginning, He spoke creation into being (Gen 1:1-3) and so often, Jesus healed and calmed the storm through His words (see Mark 4:38-39, Mark 9:25-27). We need to be careful not to limit the power of God in any way, either through sin (Is 59:1-2) or unbelief (Matt 13:53-58).

What we should do is allow God’s word room in our lives (see John 8:37). We need to give the prime spot to the word of God, as demonstrated by the Parable of the Sower (Matt 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:4-14). In Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts, two different words for ‘choked’ are used. To the people, Jesus talked about the generic word ‘choked’, whereas when explaining the parable to His disciples, He talked about the word being choked by many things, all vying for our attention. So often, many other things compete for our attention and we can end up limiting and restricting the power of God’s word because we see it as one thing among many.

Is God’s word just one thing among many or does it have pre-eminence in our lives?

Col 3:16 tells us to let the message of Christ dwell in us richly; this is not what we do, but what we allow God’s word to do in our lives. Then we need to put into action what God says (Matt 7:24-25). James reminds us we need not only to listen to the word of God, but to do what it says. (James 1:22). God’s word requires more than mere mental assent (‘That’s a good idea’; ‘That makes sense’). God speaks to us to generate faith (Rom 10:17) and we need to be disciplined in our receiving and acting upon on God’s words, as swimmers get up early to train and musicians practise for hours to perform well. What are we prepared to sacrifice to progress with God?

Each day, the word of God has competition from good things and bad things: from the worries, cares and distractions of the world. The effect of these things is to stunt growth and to prevent us from fulfilling our potential in God. We need to allow God’s word the room it needs in our lives and to be prepared to obey Him, no matter what He says.