Its always a blessing to hear the Lord speak to us in the midst of our daily lives. And when he says the same thing to us from 2 sources within a couple of hours, I certainly take notice!
That's exactly what happened Wednesday night. I was talking with a dear friend who has recently gone through some very difficult circumstances. Unfortunately, to the best of my understanding, this friend has rejected the truth of God's word and followed her emotions in a direction that perpetuates a path of disobedience. And yet as we talked,she was very profuse in her praise of me, about how much she appreciates my friendship. As you might expect this is very uncomfortable to me. It is so because there does not appear to be any grasp of spiritual reality... that while praising me as a Christian friend, she's expressed no interest in taking the hard but necessary steps to bring her life into conformity to God's word.
The Lord reminded me of a verse from Ezekiel describing this phenomenon:
"And behold, you are to them like one who sings lustful songs with a beautiful voice and plays well on an instrument, for they hear what you say but they will not do it." Ezekiel 33:32
So imagine my surprise when I came home and continued reading Terry Virgo's "A People Prepared", to find this:
"Sadly some Christians have developed such a love and respect for the Word that simply to hear it faithfully expounded can become an end in itself. Delighting in "sitting under" good teaching we can be in danger of becoming Ezekiel's hearers; that is, like those who love to hear a love song sung well, or an instrument played well (Ezekiel 33:32). The fact is that Paul's gospel was with word and power. He reminded the Corinthians, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power" (I Cor 2:4-5)
I hear people who speak frequently about how "well taught" they are. That's nice. But it really means nothing in and of itself. We learn in James 1:22 that being hearers of the word only and not doers leads to self deception.
My conviction is that we need a dynamic synergy of Word and Spirit. Not one or the other, but both! We need the Spirit of God to confirm His word with signs and wonders to hold the "hellbound spellbound", and to rattle the cages of some of us religious people who are inclined to find contentment in a mere form a godliness, while denying its power.