“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.”
Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe – and shudder!” James 2:18-19
Most of the large boxes were unpacked, furniture and beds all set up – we looked at each other with joy, elated that we had moved into our first house in Madison, MS. Sound asleep, around 3:30am in the morning, suddenly both of us were awakened to a slight rattling of the bedroom windows. There was a large humming noise coming from outside. “What is that?” we asked each other. Seconds later, an ominous horn emitted sounds of eerie terror! It was a train blowing its horn as it rushed through the neighborhood, keeping us awake for the next half-hour. “Surely the train is running late, I bet it won’t happen again” I said to my wife, assuring her that our sleep schedules wouldn’t be further disturbed.
Little did we know that this train zoomed through the neighborhood the same time every night, blaring the same horn for a good 10-15 seconds, causing everyone to toss in their beds with aggravation, waiting for silence to return. I couldn’t begin to imagine what the neighbors thought who lived directly behind the railroad – what a blessing it was we were two blocks away! How in the world were we going to get used to this train disturbing our sleep?
About a month later (if that long), I was working out in the yard when a train came by around 4:00pm. As I continued cutting the grass, I thought, “I haven’t heard the train in the middle of the night for a while…I guess it stopped.” To my chagrin, that night I was awakened by the same train at it’s usual 3:30am pass-through time. I realized that I had only grown accustomed to the noise, so much so, that I could completely block it out without even trying. Give or take a week, blocking out the train horn only took a month!
For the next 3 years before moving to Natchez, the train didn’t bother us any longer. Sure, every once in a while it would wake us up, reminding us it was still there, but 99 times out of 100, we slept peacefully through the noise. Why share this story with you? So you can feel sorry for me and all the sleep I “lost” while living in Madison? Not at all. I share this because whether we want to admit this openly or not, we are exactly like this when it comes to hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ preached in the South. We have grown accustomed to the “noise” our teachers and preachers of God’s Word make multiple times a week. The reason is that yearly, dare I say, daily – our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. The more you and I drift away from active listening and learning, the more you and I become living examples of 2 Timothy 4: “The time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
Are you still listening to God’s Word? And not only that, RESPONDING to God’s Word? Let me ask you this: What’s the difference between your faith and the faith of a demon? As James taught us, “even the demons believe,” and there is a RESPONSE to their beliefs – FEAR. Do you believe? And if so, does it cause genuine, God-fearing, God-serving, God-loving responses? Or have you and I grown numb? Have we blocked out the “noise” of God’s Word altogether and moved on to other non-substantial things where we simply shift positions in our beds at night, continuing to sleep? Pray for your hearts to be moved, pierced, fired up, and RESPONSIVE to the Gospel this week! The train horn continues to blow for Christ’s everlasting kingdom. Are you heeding its call? “The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out,” John 10:3.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.