Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Hearing and Listening Aren't the Same

Hearing and Listening Aren't the Same 
by David Brenneman 

I always find it interesting when God speaks and I am in a position to actually hear.  Of those times when, from my perspective, I get other random resources and somehow God brings the same message out of both.

Something that I was taught about Bible reading rings true in these circumstances too.  If you're interested and intent on reading to learn more about Christ, look for whatever is being repeated to you.

Dr. Charles Stanley's book "Listening to God", Dr. David Jeremiah's book "Overcomer" and Pastor Nick Cleveland & Pastor Steve Kern's "The Core 24". 

Certainly drawn from different times they were written and different people but God does what He does to get a message across. 

Just how often are we hearing but not listening to God?

We want to hear what our own heart wants to hear from Him.  We want to hear about the successes we want to see. We want to hear from God what pleases us to see, to hear, to know. 

It's all backwards to what ought to be happening. 

Our worldly successes, if done from a self perspective, are really meaningless in the eyes of God.  We read of the downfall of many in these times of the end as being lovers of themselves. We see it right in our faces when the thing to do is to take "selfies".  The thing on social media, beit Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, elsewhere is to gain "followers" to essentially gather people to approve of us. To gain the favor of men and women. To Get as much glory in this moment of life as we can...to puff up and build up the love of self.  To hear what we want to hear not necessarily what we need to hear.

God's not interested in puffing us up. He's interested in a right relationship with Jesus.  He's wanting us to keep a healthy position between our self identity and what He says we are in Christ.  

God's wanting what?  

"You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.  Therefore, ridding yourselves of all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who has looked intently at the perfect law, the law of freedom, and has continued in it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an active doer, this person will be blessed in what he does." James 1:19-25 NASB 

Quick to hear.  Active time spent in stopping the pursuit of self to hear what the Spirit says.  We read in Revelation it being repeated "He who has ears, hear what the Spirit says to the Churches".

We are told by Jesus that the Helper, the Holy Spirit, would come and teach us all things. 

Are you a student of Christ who talks all the time when He's trying to teach?  As one put it we were given 2 ears and 1 mouth.  Listen more, speak less.

We aren't here to hear what we want out of God as if that were our purpose of being here after coming to Christ to be saved. 

We are to lead transformed lives in Christ. 
We are His workmanship, He's making of the lumber of our lives not a house but a Temple.  A place that's right for the Spirit of God to reside. 

Look in the mirror.  Are you looking after your own interests or the interests of God?  If the question sounds familiar it's a statement by Jesus to Peter.  

Are you being prideful in your successes? Are you looking more for what good things people will say of you or is your life pointing people to Jesus? 
Are you working towards staying in a safe place away from the Spiritual battlefield that's got the conflicts inherent to a life growing in Christ?

Are you at all listening to the Spirit?  Or have you really been telling Him to talk to the hand? 

Many have.  Many have what Jesus said that the Disciples had in their early stages of training...a hardened heart. A heart that's not open to truly listening to God. 

I encourage you to stop in your tracks. Look at your motivations.  Look at what you've done even in the last week or so.

Are you living a life that you approve of but deep down you know that Jesus wouldn't?

Are your interests being put ahead of God's?

Are you at all spending time sitting at the feet of Jesus listening with all your attention?  While things probably did need done, Jesus refused to take that kind of moment from Mary when her sister was bent on doing other things. 

Are you cultivated a right relationship with Jesus or are you cultivating your relationship with the world?  We're taught by Jesus that we cannot serve two masters. We will love the one and despise the other.  

Who gets the love of your heart? God or the world?  Who you listen to, speaks volumes. 

Pray, as the Old Testament prophet did concerning his servant...that your eyes would be opened to the truth about yourself.  That you would have ears that hear and eyes that see as the Spirit directs and wants to teach you about Jesus. 

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