I’m thinking of the power of SAY. The power of our words, the ones we speak, those heard in the past, and what we’re hearing today. They are really all that has shaped us into the people we are in this right now moment.
I heard a statistic once that opened my mind’s eye in a whole new way: children from low income homes have typically heard 35 million less words than those from professional homes by age four. (click here to read the story)
The achievement gap starts early and is rarely ever closed. One child development specialist described the feeling she had when the results of that study were revealed…”it’s the image of running after a moving train…hopeless”.
So words matter. And they matter right from the start. If children from low income homes have a major disadvantage towards ever closing the achievement gap during their lifetime, what about Christians? I mean let’s think about it, we’re born again unto God through Christ Jesus into a Kingdom of Righteousness. We simply just don’t know the language of righteousness. We’re literal babes who Peter says in his first epistle, must desire the sincere milk of the Word of God if we’re to ever grow.
As born again Christians, we’ve obviously heard something of the Word, enough to get us saved, but then what? What about our growth? What happens when we’re saved is we enter another realm and in that realm, we’re expected to live by faith. In fact, faith is the only thing that pleases God. The Hebrew writer drives this point home like no other telling us this:
…without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
But how do we believe God without knowledge of His Word? We can’t. Neither can we diligently seek Him without It. And yet, as babes in Christ, we experience this new birth as responsible free will agents. God doesn’t call us in our natural infancy, and rarely natural childhood. He calls us into His Kingdom as physically developed, experienced owners of our responsibility and free will agency. So when He calls us in, He’s asking of us something very profound. He asks us to submit our language to His, our wisdom and knowledge to His. God asks us to submit to the frailty of our newness, to the frailty of our spiritual infancy.
We feed into that infancy, we grow ourselves by the Word of our faith. We know the Scripture…faith comes by hearing. So then the question of meat becomes…
How much are we hearing?
How many words of faith do we actually hear as Christians? It matters so much that we don’t just sit in our prospective churches on Sundays listening to a pastor preach our spirit into a state of stirred up-ness and think that’s Word enough to grow by. It matters also that we stay careful not to take messages like this one and use it as a goad to “getting more Word” that we ultimately do nothing with. These Words of our faith aren’t just concepts to store up, they’re what we are to live by.
The study proves that even in the natural one needs to hear more words as a primer, predictor, and indicator of higher achievement. Jesus was quick to use parables of natural order to cultivate an understanding of the things of the spirit.
So if we look at the study as a parable demonstrating that the word we hear and know is directly related to our ability to overcome poverty mindsets and “become more”, what are some ways we can actively pour more Word into our faith bank? It really is time for us as Christians to actively acknowledge how babylike we are in our understanding of the higher thoughts and ways of God. It’s time we take the reigns of our free will agency by purposing to feed ourselves the sincere milk of the Gospel. But how?
How do we take the measure of faith equally given to every Believer to lengthen and increase it? How do we take this beautiful and powerful thing called faith Jesus said grown to the mere size of a mustard seed would move the world’s mountains?
The benefit the babies of the affluent families in the study had was more opportunities to listen. Their parents were more likely to be professional people. Just to take notice of the root word in professional, profess, it means to say, admit clearly, to declare. Professionalism is about specialization in some area of knowledge that the individual can be counted on to tell about in accuracy.
We Christians have the privilege of crying Abba Father to a God Who only speaks in accuracy. When we pray, He doesn’t just answer our prayers, He answers them in the fullness of His faithfulness and truth. He speaks to us, Spirit to spirit, and when we listen, there is more in this process to closing the achievement gap of what we see in our lives to what we see in the Word of God, the proof of what our inheritance in Christ has made available to us. God has ordained and tailored our faith walk to what we specifically need to get to our next level in Him. Listening to Him and those He strategically places in our lives to talk to & hear from will always bear fruit that remains.
Many anointed leaders have podcasts, cd/dvd series, radio and television shows that are well worth the investment of time and money to listen to. What I don’t suggest is just turning on Christian television/radio and listening blindly. I know people who go to sleep with TBN & others sorts playing all night. This is a grave mistake. We’re to guard our ear gate with caution. What goes through the ear enters the heart. And from the heart flows our very existence. God has the insight/foresight to specifically lead us to the pastures He wants us to feed from, even the seasons to do so. Just know it’s not a catchall ‘yes’ to any Christian leader out there at any given time.
Another way to open the portal to faith development is by reading the Bible and other writings that support Christian truths and ideas. There are so many versions of the Bible to suit the many different personal preferences. My first lady, Stephanie Harris, prefers the NIV, the old language of the King James Bible doesn’t appeal to her. Another friend loves the NLT. She’s an avid novel reader and prefers the added dramatic feel of that version. The possibilities goes on and on.
And then there are audio books available of the different Bible versions. This IS something that’s worth going to sleep while listening to. Find a preferred version & preferred reader’s voice and ride that till the wheels fall off. Other Spirit led audio books are also priceless contributions to building our faith in God. (Slow Running Honey will be available soon in audio book format. Yay…shameless plug…Lol)
Last but not least, watching. One thing babies do very well, is watch! They see everything and even though they don’t always have the language to ‘judge’, they ‘know’. As adult-baby Christians, we do the same thing although we’re called to do this with a little different spin on it. We’re called to consider our ways, to examine ourselves, and this is what it looks like:
We Christians learn to examine ourselves by & through the things we see in others. What Christians are called to judge is not the other person, but ourselves in relationship to the other person. If I feel jealousy, or insecurity, or rage, or any combination of negative emotions when I look at/interact with Lisa, it’s not Lisa that has the issue. The issue lies in me. There’s something in my heart God is using my relationship with her to get to the bottom of. And He wants to get to the bottom of it because He wants to uproot it.
We are created by God as capable vessels of love. The world and every painful experience we’ve had in it has served as impetus and contributor to our faulty self perceptions. Watching ourselves as we interact with others, then offering/confessing the truth of our feelings (or lack there of) up to God, is the major tool He uses to help us make the Scriptures manifest in our lives.
It is in our relationships that the words we’ve been exposed to come to life. It is in our relationships that the Word is made flesh and dwells among us.