My daughter, Charity phoned and asked if I wanted to meet her for coffee. Um, first let me just say, you don’t need to ask me twice if I want to meet for coffee. And secondly, as a mom of adult kids, I jump at the chance to visit when they call.
Sadly, when I arrived at Starbucks, Charity wasn’t there. A text from her told me I had gone to the wrong Starbucks. Gasp!
I didn’t pay attention to the part where she told me which Starbucks to go to.
I naturally went to the one closest to where she works and where we met before. After my last post Are You Giving God a Chance to Speak? God let me know there’s more to learn about this “listening thing.” Oh, hooray (she sighs).
“So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Luke 8:18 (emphasis mine)
These are the words of Jesus after He gave His disciples an explanation of what’s known as the Parable of the Four Soils. I’ve provided the passage below. You will notice the word “hear” is in red.
“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.”
In each instance, the person heard God’s word. But out of the four listeners, only one heard God’s word with the right heart which allowed him to cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.
My friends, God expects for us to produce a HUGE harvest.
But in order to do so, we must be willing to exercise the discipline of listening to His Word. Of course, this isn’t isolated the act of hearing the Bible spoken aloud. It means whenever we interact with Scripture.
Whenever we interact with Scripture, it is serious business. We are in actuality interacting with the Word who became flesh, Jesus Christ.
Are we taking the time to savor, to research, to meditate, to memorize, and to put the Scriptures into action?
Are we reading the Holy Scriptures haphazardly? Do we skip over familiar passages thinking we already know everything?
Back in school when we were studying for a test, we would take notes, make note cards, memorize, have others quiz us, and so on. Guess what?
In the classroom of life, there will be many tests that we will fail because we didn’t take Scripture to heart. We didn’t listen carefully.
Jesus says if we pay close attention to His teaching, more understanding will be given. But He also warns that if we aren’t careful with what we have heard (read, interacted with), we will lose it. Yikes!
In Matthew 3:16 the Holy Spirit is likened to a dove, suggesting that just as doves are gentle birds that quickly fly away when threatened, the Holy Spirit’s voice can be easily muted. How does this happen?
One major way to mute the voice of the Holy Spirit is to live in opposition to His Holy character.
What other things mute how we hear the Holy Spirit? Refer back to the Parable of the Four Soils above.
I recently listened to a podcast with a guest from Voice of the Martyrs. The guest told of a man in India who walked two and a half miles to attend a small church gathering where the Word of God was read. These precious Christians did not even have an entire Bible. They were reading from only one epistle. The man would copy down what he could and memorize the verses!
Most of us have access to several copies of the Bible and translations. But do we treasure the Word enough to walk miles to hear it?
Let’s take the words of Jesus seriously. Let’s get excited about listening to and reading the Bible. Let’s be willing to go that extra mile and allow it to transform our hearts and minds!
Please feel free to share your thoughts and prayer requests in the comments below.
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