Let’s listen in on a couple “familiar” conversations:
The woman despairs within: “He doesn’t hear me!” And then she says aloud to her husband, totally exasperated: “You’re not hearing me!” And he, frustrated to equal degree as she, gives his emphatic response: “I hear you! You’re not hearing me!”
A teenager shouts aloud to his parent, “Quit yelling at me! I heard you the first time! And the parent responds, “If you heard me, the first time, you would have listened to me!” Then, the teen responds, “Well, you don’t need to keep telling me over and over!” and the parent pleads “Well, if you’d hear me, I wouldn’t have to repeat myself!”
Now, tell me: What is it that their “not hearing” leads to? What is the “fruit” of it?
Right! A stalemate! A breakdown in the communications! Their “good” relationship comes to a halt!
Neither party is listening to the other, because they both want to be heard! And if they are not heard, they stop listening to each other! They “shut off”… and their relationship suffers greatly… intimacy decreases, and maybe even ceases.
Now, let’s look at this in light of Father God, Christ Jesus our Lord, and the Holy Spirit within us who pleads: “He who has ears, let him hear!”
Why does the Lord want us to hear? Because He wants to have a “good” relationship with us! (smile)
In the last week, I have been hearing God, in the Word, mention “hearing”. So today, I will speak of some of what He has taught me. Please do read the entire article to get the full impact of the message the Lord wants me to speak, and you TO HEAR. As you read, do not assume anything. Instead try to hear. Truly listen to Him…okay? He may even speak completely different from what I speak, or what you read, for He does that. (smile) Consider this whole thing to be A Matter of Hearing.
Most of you are familiar with the parable of the soils that is in Luke 8. The seed is The Word of God, and it falls upon different soils, of heart. Now, let’s talk about The Matter of Hearing. First of all, I just want you to glance quickly down upon the words I have bolded from each of the interpretive verses. From this scan, you will note that they all heard. Then read back through to get the meaning of Christ’s words.
King James Version (KJV)
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
These scripture verses emphasize that “the Word WAS HEARD” and yet what was the difference in the listeners to the Word? I venture to say, only one described set of listeners REALLY HEARD.
In the human conversations that I begin this article with, each speaker desired to receive a “certain response” from their listener, to indicate they were really being heard. If they did not receive this “needed response” it was a definite indication to each speaker that their listener wasn’t really HEARING them. Right?
Well, can we suppose it is the same with the Lord ?
From these verses in Luke, we understand our hearing the Lord does not infer to having something “go into” our ears, or even “into” our minds, through the spoken or written Word of God. Hearing has not even anything to do with “receiving” what “goes in”. We can hear with our ears, and even nod our head as if receiving, but if we do not have “the heart” to HEAR… the proper heart attitude… we will NOT HEAR. We will not be giving the “response” our Lord is desiring from us hearing Him.
Note Verses 13 and 14; these listeners heard and received, yet likened to soil: they had no root ….or they were choked out.
So they really did not “hear” God. Did they?
So what did they NOT have? What did they lack that would have enabled them to truly “hear”??
According to verse 15, the missing ingredients are: one can be interpreted as “a noble and good heart” as we hear, and the second is in the “keeping it” once we hear.
So now we are at “the heart of the matter” … “the matter of hearing”!
It is our heart that will take what we hear and receive, and cause us to keep it, and to bear fruit, with patience.
So as we look back through the passage, our heart as described these verses, ought to be:
HONEST AND GOOD - OBEDIENT - RESPONSIVE - PATIENT – FRUIT BEARING
Sounds like the ingredients of any “good” relationship, doesn’t it? (smile)
To hear, then, we conclude that we must first set our hearts aright.
An honest and good heart, will “consciously choose” TO HEAR, for we will have a respect and honor for who is speaking. We will have “an attitude” of DESIRE TO HEAR.
Will I choose to hear what God has to say to me, whether by His Spirit or the Written Word, His still small voice within (conscience), or his voice heard through my brothers and sisters?
This is a conscious decision, to be God conscious. To “tune in”…to “want to hear” and to “heed” what we hear…
Let’s look at the verse Luke 11:28,
“But He (Jesus) said, Yea, rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God and keep it.”
Notice hearing and keeping cannot be separated. If you are not keeping, you are not really truly hearing.
And let’s hear the invitation of Christ in Revelation 3:20,
“Behold, if any man HEAR my voice, AND OPEN the door, I will come into him, and sup with him, and he with me.”
Notice, we have to open ourselves up, which is a heart issue again, in order for Jesus to come in and fellowship with us.
If you close tightly the door of your heart, you close yourself off to hearing. You leave the door shut to Jesus. Just as we do in human relationships. We can shut Him out, or slam the door in his face if it gets part way open… Yet he continues to speak.
For it says, it is IF we hear, right? So that means he’ll take the initiative TO SPEAK, and once we perceive he IS SPEAKING, we need to “tune in.” We must want to find his frequency, just as we would tune in a radio station. If you keep moving the knob fast you will just get a jumbled up mess, and make no sense of anything you hear. You have to WANT TO HEAR.
Why don’t we hear? Or want to hear?
For we know, deep inside, that hearing and responding DO go together. (smile)
Sometimes we subconsciously think if we don’t hear, we don’t have to heed. Like, if I don’t read this article, I will not be held accountable for what I receive from its words. Or subconscious reasoning says: If I don’t open up the Bible, I won’t be held accountable for what it says, or… If I don’t attend church meetings, I won’t obey what the Spoken Word declares.
Let’s talk about that.
Does your not hearing this article make it less true? Does your not hearing the word of God, make that much less God’s Will for you? Of course not! It is deception! We deceive ourselves.
The Lord pleads with all of his people… TO HEAR… for the hard-hearted are described in scripture by their curse: “seeing they may not see, hearing they may not understand”…and why Christ spoke in parables. (see Matthew 13:13)
Why will they not hear? It’s because their hearts won’t enable them to hear! Their hearts, neither honest or good, as one who listens.
And yet Jesus gives the invitation to all: “He who has ears, let him hear!”
Jesus declares in the Luke 8:21, “My mother and my brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” . Sounds pretty similar to his words of Luke 11:28 shared earlier, doesn’t it?
Only this time, his words may be interpreted: “We are His Family IF we hear him and if we keep His Word”. According to these passages, it’s not just if we have heard and received his word, but we must also keep it, to fulfill righteousness…to bear fruit…to please our Lord.
Now let’s take this a step further. Let’s talk relationship.
Do we only hear him? Or do we expect him to hear us?
Back to the relationships described at the beginning. What did each of them do, when they felt that they were not heard themselves? Each GAVE UP. Each HARDENED their heart. Why? Because we all have the need to BE HEARD. We are created this way. We need to be heard, and we need to hear. This IS relationship, after all.
Is this not also the way of believers with Christ? Do we believe he hasn’t heard US? So we have stopped hearing HIM? Have our hearts gone hard against HIM, because we don’t feel we are heard?
I believe this could very well be.
There is only one thing wrong. Why this is deception. It cannot be true. That is, our thinking that our LORD has not really heard us. God does hear. Why? Because his heart is NOT hard… He is able to respond to us…. He acts and reacts in purest love. He has nothing on his end to prevent his hearing of us.
So then what can we conclude?
We have failed to HEAR HIM.
Let’s look at HIS HEART, shall we?
I am going to take you to an example from Luke 10:51-56. The people… actually a whole Samaritan village… did not receive Christ, as his disciples went ahead of him to prepare the way, for his coming to them. So his disciples, being appalled at this rejection of Jesus, said. “Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?” And Jesus replied, with a stern rebuke:“You do not know what manner of spirit you are.” “The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”… and they went to another village.
In today’s interpretation, He was clearly telling them that their mindset/attitude was not of the Holy Spirit! Their hearts hardened when Jesus was NOT HEARD (responded to). But Jesus went on to declare this very important revelation about HIMSELF: “The Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”…. And they went to another village.
Why was it stressed that they moved on to another village?????
And why do you suppose, this week, the Lord was illuminating that last line to me, amidst all this talk of “hearing”?
Firstly, Jesus wanted His Heart revealed: to save not destroy…and that it was an honest and good heart…toward them. Secondly, it was to show us all: Jesus will not press himself upon those who DO Reject Him… He, instead of trying to convince them TO HEAR HIM, He went on his way to another village!!
So the sober end of this matter of hearing, receiving, and heeding is the fact: WEhave to want to!
Jesus will speak… yet, if we don’t want to hear him, He’ll move on to another.
If a certain Church will not hear, he’ll move on to another.
If a particular missionary compound, will not hear, he’ll move on to another.
If a people group will not hear, he’ll move on to another.
If one of us is given an assignment, and we do not hear (heed it), he’ll move on to give it to another.
Jesus is speaking! He is moving until He finds one who hears! i.e. one who receives his word, and will, and obeys. Then he will COME IN TO HIM, AND FELLOWSHIP WITH HIM, AND YOU WILL BE HEARD TOO! (Rev 3:20). Relationship will be yours.
SO, IN RESPONSE, WILL YOU HEAR TODAY?
Will you prepare your heart to hear, from this hour forward?
Will you heed and obey, what you hear, when you hear?
It is indeed
A MATTER OF “HEARING”
For us all…
A Prayer of Response:
Open my ears to hear you… really hear you… that I become more-and-more responsive TO YOU. Keep on speaking, Lord, until I heed what you say. Please do not move on. Please know I welcome you, and desire you to keep talking to me. I ask you to forgive me for closing my ears to so many things you’ve been speaking to me of late. Open my heart, as I daily open your word and spend time with you. And give me the ability to obey you God. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, and enable me to hear your still, small voice throughout my day, no matter how busy life is… giving me guidance and comfort. May your voice become louder, so it drowns out the voices of this world that distract me and turn me from you. Thank you Jesus, for your blood that washes away all sin. Wash away the hardness of my heart, that has kept me from fully hearing you. And bring me great grace to respond to you with EARS THAT HEAR. I want to obey and to please you, for I love you Lord, and honor your name and your rightful authority over my life. May I be ever increasingly God-conscious…that I give you, my Lord, the gift of true love and relationship: EARS THAT HEAR.
In Jesus Name, Amen
Written by Elizabeth Norland – 10/27/2012