I had a recent discussion with a pastor on the topic “Word Resistant” and I was quite curious over what the pastor said. “Word resistant” can be defined as the ability of an individual to continue its lifestyle in the presence of the preaching and teaching of God’s Word without any impact on the behavior, conviction and faith of the individual. In the world of science, there is a parallel as drug resistant is defined as “the ability of microbes, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, or fungi, to grow in the presence of a chemical (drug) that would normally kill it or limit its growth.”
I have personal experience of this drug resistant. Many years ago, a dosage of Amoxicillin is sufficient for my inflamed throat but now it requires two courses of Augmentin. My guess is that the years of taking antibiotics carelessly and not completing the course in a timely manner had created the drug resistant. It is almost a kind of careless “familiarity breeds contempt”.
Is it possible that as Christians we may have developed “Word resistant” having attended church week after week for a long time, heard hundreds and if not thousands of sermons, attended many Bible studies, church camps, home cell group meetings, read many Christian books and even had read the Bible numerous times? However, the reading and studying of the Word became a routine and has very little implication on our daily lives.
“Word resistant” means that the Word of God becomes like water off the feathers of a duck. It never penetrates beneath the external covering and the Word simply bounces off the external surface. How is this possible?
Taking the drug resistant as a parallel lesson, our “Word resistant” can be due to:
- Our erratic and irregular “consumption” of the Word of God. We only read and study God’s Word out of habit and convenience and there is really no real penetration of His Word into our hearts;
- Our unconscious belief that there is nothing special or effectual about the Word of God. The Word of God is just like any wisdom literature, good to have but not critical for life and death matters nor is it essential for daily living;
- Poor discipline in reading, listening and studying His Word. For example, we have wandering minds and “out-of-body” experiences during service or preaching of God’s Word or even quiet time. Our body was there in the presence of God’s Word but our mind and soul were somewhere else;
- Lack of a consistent and careful plan to read and study His Word. It is likened to a man who opens the Bible and decides God’s will by letting his finger to randomly point at whatever passage is available.
There may be many other reasons how this “Word resistant” is developed. How can we prevent “Word resistant” from taking place in our life? The most fundamental prevention is to return back to a high view of the Scripture. In the Westminster Shorter Catechism of Faith, the answers given to the questions on the Word of God were:
Q2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?
Ans: The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.
Q3. What do the Scriptures principally teach?
Ans: The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man.
Do we really believe that the Word of God is sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and faith? If we really believe in the centrality of the scripture, we would pay special attention to it.
Q90. How is the Word to be read and heard, that it may become effectual to salvation?
Ans: That for the Word to become effectual to salvation, we must attend thereunto with diligence, preparation, and prayer: receive it with faith and love, lay it up in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.
Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” The Word of God is meant more than a drug for healing but a surgical instrument for penetrating the deepest secrets and the hardest hearts of men.
Psalms 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” The Word of God lights the way for our daily living.
We are “Word resistant” when we can read and hear these two verses and yet they do not stir any urgency, reflection and assurance in us. Will the greatest impending crisis of the church be one of the famine of His Word or where the Word is abundantly available but the people of God developed “Word resistant”? May God help us not to resist His Word given for our salvation.
Eld Ho Yew Kee