“ARE YOU LISTENING, REALLY LISTENING?”
Jesus often asked this question, couched in different words, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” The first requirement for anyone who wants to be a disciple is the will to listen. Proverbs 9:10 puts it this way, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” I have a simple definition for the fear of the Lord – respect and honour God enough to take Him seriously.
Throughout the Old Testament and the earthly ministry of Jesus, He had to rebuke His own people for not listening. We know what that’s like because it’s the same quarrel we have with our own children. We know our frustration when our kids do their own thing anyway when we have reasoned with them not to make foolish decisions.
What stops us from heeding God’s Word so that we can live our lives with wisdom? I think there are many factors which get in the way of our taking God seriously.
Firstly, we have the inborn tendency to think that we know better, which comes from Adam! It’s a deeply ingrained mistrust of God that was spawned in the Garden of Eden.
Secondly, God seems unreal because we can’t see Him with our physical eyes or hear Him with our physical ears. We dismiss what is written in God’s Word because it is not real to us.
Thirdly, even when we know our decisions or actions are wrong, we wait for God to hit us over the head with a revelation. We know what His Word says but our excuse is, “God has not convicted me about that.” Put simply, we are stubborn.
Jesus gave us a scary response to our excuses and unwillingness to listen. John 12:47, 48; “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world but to save it. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.”
Jesus honours our free will so much that He will never impose on us what we are unwilling to receive. But does that mean we will get away with it? The very words which we rejected or ignored will be the words that expose our guilt when we stand before God. Jesus will not have to say a word. We will condemn ourselves.
“Are you listening, really listening?”
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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