The Importance of God’s Word in Missions

Missionaries must continually receive and respond to God’s Word in order to succeed in their task.

“Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21 ESV)

How do you receive God’s Word?

James gives us the answer to this question. But before we look at what he said, let’s answer another question: How do you receive a gift? It’s simple. You make sure your hands are open and you have nothing in them. It’s difficult to receive something into your hands when you’re holding onto something else. Similarly, it’s difficult to receive God’s Word when we’re holding onto other things.

James commanded his readers to “receive with meekness the implanted word.” At the beginning of our text, the word therefore points back to what was previously said: God “brought us forth by the word of truth” (1:18). This new birth takes place through the Word. But the Word didn’t come and go, it stayed. Since God’s Word is not native to our hearts, it must be implanted in us. And once implanted, it will grow as we continue to receive it and respond to it.

Back to the initial question: How do you receive God’s Word?

First, “with meekness.” James emphasized humility in his previous commands to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger (1:19). We cannot receive God’s Word if we ignore those imperatives.

Second, by removing filthiness and wickedness from our lives. We need to let go of all forms of impurity and evil that could run rampant in our lives. We cannot hold onto them and receive God’s Word—they are at odds with each other.

This receptivity to God’s Word is also required in the missionary endeavor. This is true for the Christian who hears the call to go as a missionary (Matthew 28:19-20), as well as for the unbeliever who hears from the missionary the gospel call to come to Christ (John 5:40).

As believers, we sometimes hold onto false thinking and personal sin that prevent us from receiving God’s call to service. Unbelievers hold onto false religions and personal sin that prevent them from receiving God’s call to salvation. The implanted Word is able to save and sustain both the missionary and the unbeliever.

What are you holding onto that prevents you from receiving or remaining in God’s Word? Let it go. Receive his Word. Take glory in its ability to save your soul.


“Heavenly Father, show me what I’m holding onto that prevents me from receiving and responding to your Word. Give me the strength and courage to let those things go.”

Missions Prayer Focus: Muslims in South Asia

  1. Pray for Christians in North America to accept the call to missions.
  2. Pray for the Muslims in South Asia to receive God’s Word and believe the gospel for salvation.
  3. Pray for missionaries serving in South Asia to be receptive to God’s leading in thier ministry to Muslims.
Get Devotionals in Your Inbox

Join our prayer plan and receive weekly devotionals. Set a daily reminder at 9:38 to pray, and let the weekly encouragements guide you.