“The first duty of love is to listen…” (Paul Tillich)
- Luke 8:21 “My mother and my brothers are all those who hear God’s word and obey it.
- Luke 11:28 “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
- John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
- John 14:15 “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”
The question we must ask ourselves is; what are we…who are we listening to? The evidence supports that we are, too often, listening to outside influences, majority rules, and the tyranny of the urgent. As followers of Christ, our first responsibility is to listen intently for the voice of our God. Although we are created in the image of our Creator God, hearing His voice does not come natural; the Adamic nature has sealed that truth. On the other hand, God’s prevenient grace beckons us to come out from our sin and be reconciled. Our reconciliation comes with an invitation to restoration; restoration comes to us with the offer and gift of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit helps us to hear with ears turned to the frequency of God. We can be listeners; we can be hearers, and we can obey God. Love starts with listening and Godly listening requires obedience.
I think, like no other time in history, we have incredible challenges before us…deafening us and preoccupying us from hearing even the gentle woo of Holy Spirit whispering the divine love song of prevenient grace. We suffer from a cacophony of busy-ness, a bombardment of multimedia attacking our senses from a thousand different directions, and the raping of our souls with the villainous creature that is mass consumerism. It is ironic that the blessing our society enjoys is the same cancer that is slowing stealing our soul. Our abundance is starving the very life from us. We don’t know how to listen anymore…maybe we don’t even know who to listen to. We have become accustomed to having people tell us what is good for us and what we need at every point and facet of our life. Most of us are listening to the wrong voices and are turned in the wrong direction.
“Servants of God aren’t controlled by what they hear from fellow human beings; they are controlled by the voice of God.” (Joshua Choonmin Kang)
We are bid to love the Lord our God with all our heart, all our soul, all our mind, and all our strength. We have to stop listening to the voices and focus on the VOICE. The world is a noisy place and it is getting noisier by the moment; however, even in the sea of noisy distractions God is speaking clearly and pointedly to us. I like what A.W. Tozer writes; “We must hear worthily, if we have ears to hear, we can hear God whenever and wherever we might be.” This is an encouragement to me. It helps to know that Holy Spirit is leading me in ways of truth too. Even with encouragement though, there is a word of warning. There are well-wishers and well-doers that would offer advice. Jesus said beware of wolves in sheep clothing. When these types offer advice, test their fruit and heed the caution of Tozer; “listen to no man who fails to listen to God.” Most importantly, guard your heart and obey God