And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.1 Thessalonians 2:13
It has become popular to reduce the word of God to just words written by humans years ago. This gives us authority over it so that we can manipulate it, dissect it, and make it fit our culture. But when we do that to the word of God, when we treat it as if it is just a human word, we prevent it from having any transformative power in our lives.
The Thessalonians received the word of God as the word of God, and because of that it was at work in them. When we treat the word of God as the word of God, we submit to it rather than trying to make it submit to us. When we do this, there is an energizing of the word within us. As we surrender ourself to the truth of God’s word, the power of the word of God flows through us.
We see Jesus teach this principle in Matthew 10 when he says:
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.”
“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward.”
Matthew 10:32, 40-41
If you acknowledge Jesus for who He really is, the Son of God and Savior of the world, then He will acknowledge you before God the Father. If you welcome a prophet as a prophet, you’ll be able to receive from the prophet their reward and blessing (see 1 Kings 17:7-24). If you welcome a righteous person as a righteous person, you’ll receive the reward that comes from acknowledging them for who they really are.
Likewise, if we treat the word of God as the word of God, and not just words of humans written thousands of years ago, we get the reward of having the very words of God dwell in us, work in us, and pour through us. And God’s words have life-giving, creative power every time He speaks! (Genesis 1; Mark 5:41-42; John 1:1-5).
If, however, we treat the word of God as mere human words, our “reward” is that we’ll have unbelief, skepticism, and doubt at work in us–in our hearts and minds. The fruit will be human reasoning that is empty and powerless.