Bible Reading: Luke 11:27-28, Psalm 139
“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” (Luke 11:28)
Do you want to be happy? A woman in the crowd who watched Jesus’ successful ministry cried out, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” This woman thought that Jesus’s mother would have been truly happy and blessed because her son had become a successful teacher. This woman valued happiness in a successful future, fame, and human honour. She thought Jesus’ mother was very blessed because her son did miracles, cast out demons, healed the sick and taught profound messages unheard of before.
But Jesus pointed out that this woman was wrong. He says true blessedness or happiness is only for those who hear God’s word and obey it. Do you want to be happy? If so, listen to God’s word, pay attention to it and learn to apply it in our lives.
Yet, this paradox of joy is only visible to those whom God has given the grace to see. On the outside, following laws and obeying authority is a joy kill. Doing such restricts freedom for us to do whatever we please. Yet, those who have heeded to Jesus’ words in faith are the only ones who can testify of the unfound joy of self-denial and cross-bearing. Only these people will know the greater joy that kept Jesus going to the cross — that we, the church, would be reconciled with God.
If we want to listen to God’s word and keep it, we must at the same time introspect what is in our own hearts. When we hear God’s word, we must compare it with what our heart desires, feels and says. Then, we ought to pray that our hearts would be changed so that we can keep God’s truth in our hearts and make it rule over our lives.
For example, 1 John 2:15 says, “If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him”. What is in our hearts? What do we love? Do we love things that are of the world, or do we love God? Be honest and see your own heart.
Even in this process, our hearts are deceitful, failing to understand them. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” So, we have to ask God to help us search and seek out our hearts. We must pray that God leads our hearts to the right path and that we can have a fear of God alone planted in the roots of our hearts.
May David’s prayer be ours, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24)
Lord, teach us what it means to listen and keep Your word. We have heard this repeatedly, yet we still do not understand Your will in it and the true blessedness there is. Open our eyes. Teach us to introspect our hearts. Search our ways and lead us to life everlasting. In Jesus’ name, amen.