Luke 11:28 But Jesus said, "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"
Jesus is responding to a woman who said to Him that Mary was a blessed person because she was His mother and this is His answer to her comment.
First off, this should stop all "Mary-worship". This makes it hard for the Catholic church to canonize anyone. Obviously Jesus said this in this exact way for a reason, and this helps our case against these kinds of practices. But it is much more than that.
This is really the Gospel in short form, or a very short way to see if we are true followers of Christ. Do you want to know if you're a Christian? Here is your test.
Jesus 1st states that a Christian is one who hears the Word of God. There are many ways to hear the Word, especially today, but we need to put ourselves in a place to hear it. That could be in a church setting, small group, mp3, radio and there are plenty more. Are you getting fed the Word. Is this the food that you can't do without, even more than physical food? Would you skip a meal to hear God's Word proclaimed?
But Jesus doesn't stop there. He says that we need to hear the Word and keep it. James says the same thing in chapter 1:22 "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves". The Word of God is powerful and is able to change hearts, but we first need to hear it, then we need to see what we need to change because of that hearing and then we need to do it.
If we leave out hearing we will not know what it is that we are supposed to do. If we hear only, without doing, it is of no spiritual good to us, and just makes us more accountable to God.
This is not one of the Beatitudes, but Jesus does tell us that we will be blessed, or happy, if we hear the Word and then do it. Certainly this is not rocket science, but we have a fight on our hands when we desire to put off the old man and follow Christ.
Father, may You make us people that desire and love to hear Your Word. May it be our food, our honey, our purest form of nutrition, the water from Your fountain that we can't get enough of. Give us the desire to "Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price". We are not inclined to do this in and of ourselves. We want to follow other loves and to drink from broken cisterns that are dry, but You can give us a desire that is hot for all that You are. Please give us that desire.
And then make us to want to follow all that You have commanded. Don't let us fall to following lesser loves. Give us a vision of how sweet it is to follow You every minute of everyday. Make us to see You, in all Your glory, so there is nothing that can distract us from following hard after You, because we have seen how amazing You are. You can change our hearts from stone to flesh and You can change our loves from earthly pleasures to the treasure of You. Please do this great work in us. Finish what You have started in us, and start the work in those we are praying for.
Give us a renewed passion for You and change the world because of what You are doing in the lives of Your people. This is too great a task for us to do, but this is a small thing for You to do through us. Take our weaknesses and use them for Your honor and Your glory. Shut the mouths of wicked men as they watch You work in the lives of Your people and have no answer for how You have worked so mightily through such weak vessels. Let there be no answer to give except "God has done this". Glorify Your great name. Make Your name to be famed through out all the earth. Nothing is to hard for You.