“Are you listening?”
“Listen to me.”
“Just stop talking and listen.”
I feel like I will never stop telling my children to listen to me. And if they would take the time to listen, I wouldn’t have to continually tell them to close the door when they come inside, to put their shoes in the shoe bin instead of leaving them on the floor, and to not complain but speak kind words about other people.
I know my kids hear me, but they aren’t fully listening to me all the time. Listening isn’t just hearing what is said to you. Listening is even more than hearing and understanding. Listening is hearing it, understanding it, and acting on it.
If I tell my daughter to brush her teeth every night before bed, she isn’t listening if she doesn’t actually do it. When understood, listening should create in her a need to brush her teeth every night.
James 1:22-25 makes this point clear for us as Christ followers:
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.
James tells us that we need to fully listen to God’s word, the way we want our kids to listen to us.
For example, we frequently hear on Sunday mornings that we are adopted by God (see Ephesians 1:5). It’s not enough to just hear it. It can’t just be that we understand what adopted means. We have to live like we are adopted, forgiven, blessed, loved, chosen children of God.
Listening to God, understanding the truth of His love and grace, should drive us to live for Him and to let Christ live in us. We can’t just hear the truth every week, but we need to actually start living it.
This Sunday, July 30, 2017, as we start a new series called “Intentional Acts of Kindess,” let’s prepare to intentionally listen. Use these songs we’ll be singing to prepare your heart for truth and get ready to act on what you hear.