What skill could be so important that your soul depends upon it’s development and continued use? What skill could be so important that Jesus would implore people over and over again to use it? It is a skill you have. Although there’s a chance, if you’re like most, you don’t use it as often as you should. The skill I’m referring to is listening.
Like most of us, there are times when my wife tells me something, but I’m not really listening. I hear her talking. I may even recognize that she is talking to me. Afterward, I might vaguely remember a few words she said, but I haven’t really listened to her.
Sadly, many of us do this with the Lord as well. We hear Him, but we’re not really listening. Jesus used a phrase over and over again, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15). In other words, “Listen to me!”
Here are some of the ways we’re not really listening:
1. We’re Hearing What We Want to Hear
It is amazing to me that there are so many different perceptions about one Book. One person reads the Bible one way and the next person reads the Bible an entirely different way. These mixed perceptions are due to the fact that we are hearing what we want to hear; we are reading the Bible to prove ourselves right, rather than reading to find out what’s right.
When people “twist” the Scripture to their liking, they are twisting it “to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).
2. We’re Ignoring the Things We Don’t Like
Sometimes we read it. Know what it says. But, we just refuse to listen. Like little children, we put our hands over our ears and sing, “I’m not listening!” Since very early on, people have behaved this way. The children of Israel used to gather around them prophets who would say what they wanted to hear; and if a true prophet dared speak an uncomfortable truth, they would persecute and kill him (Acts 7:52). They violently said, “We’re not listening!”
I have studied with people who will say things like, “I know this verse says that, but I just don’t believe that.” In other words, “I know what God is saying, but I just don’t want to listen.”
3. We’re Just Not Listening
Some people – even people who consider themselves Christians – have just never heard what the Bible says. Some don’t make time to read the Bible. Some have simply made assumption by listening to teachers and preachers, but they have never actually listened for themselves to the inspired Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Many of us spend more time listening to what someone else says about the Bible, than we do actually listening to the Bible itself.
I’ve heard so many times, “I don’t know where, but I’m sure the Bible says…” And the person will go on to quote something that isn’t even in the Bible! People, stop making so many assumptions and listen to God’s word. Read it. Know it. Feast upon it.
Are You Listening?
One of the ways you know you’re listening is when you recognize that God’s word is challenging your behavior and your beliefs. But, don’t stop with just listening. Do what it says. James writes, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1:22).
Listen and do. You very soul depends upon it.
I love you and God loves you,