10 October 2011

Do you really HEAR?

“Every day we do things, we are things, that have to do
with peace. If we are aware of our lifestyle, our way of
consuming, our way of looking at things, we will know how to
make peace right in the moment we are alive.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I don’t know about you, but sometimes my spiritual journey seems so hard. It’s like God is trying to teach me the same lessons over and over again. Why can’t I keep walking forward instead of two steps forward and one step back, or worse yet ... walking in circles?

A verse that comes to mind is Romans 7:15, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.”

My Bible study time is important to me, but I’m not sure I always “hear” what God is trying to tell me. This week I was reading my Sunday school lesson from the book of Matthew, chapter 13. It began with the Parable of the Sower, a story that I have heard many times. But this week verse 9 caught my attention... “He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9). These words must have been something Jesus felt were very important, because those exact words are mentioned 14 times in the New Testament. It’s as if he was saying, “This is important, make sure that you really understand the true meaning of the word hearing.”

Hearing is a lot more than just listening to words. It means paying attention, taking notice, becoming informed and most of all, it means understanding. But hearing doesn’t end until an action has been taken in response to what we have heard.

The demands and busyness on our everyday life, affect our “hearing” when it comes to our interactions with others. Ask yourself:

• Do I offer others my undivided attention, or do I only pay attention to someone who is saying something I really want to hear?
• Do I listen to half of the conversation and just assume I know what the ending will be?
• Do I listen with one ear and have the other tuned to the TV or my cell phone?
• Do I spend time with those who could offer me encouragement, counsel, or teaching?
• Do I find quiet time to clear my mind?

When we read God’s word, we have the same choices that we do in our everyday conversations.

• We can choose to read only the part of God’s word we want to hear, and skip over the parts that we don’t want to hear.
• We can read a verse and apply it out of context, assuming we know what the ending is supposed to be.
• We can read (and hear with one ear), by letting ourselves get preoccupied with worldly things.
• We can skip church, Bible study classes, or small group meetings – fellowship that can offer us encouragement, guidance, and a better understanding of God’s Word.
• We can forget about setting time aside to “be still.”

I can tell the difference in my own life when I “really hear” God’s message. I feel a special connection, a closeness to God ... I feel at peace. On the flip-side, when I fail to really “hear” God, that is when fear, doubt, confusion, and negative thoughts quickly replace biblical truths - leaving me feeling disconnected.

Read with me the words of Mark 4:23 -25, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Consider carefully what you hear, he continued. With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” Notice how this scripture starts out? Reading this verse in relation to what we have been talking about has given me a greater insight. I think we are being told that there is a definitely connection between the time and effort we put forth in reading God’s word and the depth of our understanding.

By golly, I think I’ve got it! I just love it when the light bulb comes on. Maybe God won’t have to repeat this message for a while – but that can only happen if I act on my understanding. If I just hear the message, nothing will change.

I guess I’m not the only one that needs to hear things over and over again. Otherwise, God wouldn’t have had to repeat his message 14 times. Is there a message that God is trying to tell you, but you have not “heard” yet?  I’d love to hear your story.

This week as you HEAR God’s message, gain understanding, and put his words in to action, I pray for you the words of Philippians 4:7 (NLT) ... “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Therefore love truth and peace.”
- Zechariah 8:19

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