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Hearing is Not Enough

For many, there’s an assumption that as long as we attend church and behave for the most part, we have checked off the “Religion” box on our to do list for the week. GOD, on the other hand, calls us to not only passively hear His word, but to truly absorb it and to respond to it by living a life full of His presence. We must let what we hear change us from the inside out.

First, how do we hear from GOD?

Hearing from GOD

We hear from GOD in three main conduits – reading the Bible, talking to Him through prayer, and listening to His word preached.

Another way of looking at this is to consider how we interact and hear from each facet of the Trinity – we read GOD’s Word, we speak to Jesus in prayer, and we listen to how the Holy Spirit moves us when we hear the Word preached.

Now that we’ve established the means through which we hear from GOD, let’s examine why simply hearing is not enough to truly live in the fullness of life that GOD desires for us.

“Don’t just listen to GOD’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1:22).

Hearing Is Only the Beginning

James can’t make it much clearer. If we only listen without ever responding or taking action, we aren’t really living in faith. Our faith in GOD is only as powerful as the changes taking place in our lives. Therefore, we must take each mea of hearing GOD’s word a step further.

“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 1:25).

Not only must we read the Bible, but we must study His word with an open heart. This means not just scanning a passage and moving on, but letting the truth speak for itself and to receive GOD’s personal message for us as we read. We must allow the Holy Spirit to guide our reading, to dwell on certain passages, even if we don’t necessarily know why at first. We must let Jesus speak to us through his own words and reflect on how they can impact our lives.

Not only must we pray to Jesus, but we also give Him space to speak to us. Communication, in any relationship, is a two way street and so we must intentionally create margin and space for Jesus to respond to our prayers. As Moses learned, GOD often speaks as a gentle wind, not earthquakes or thunder. Thus, we must strive for the open space that gives GOD room to move in our lives and in our moments of prayer.

Not only must we hear the Word preached, we must truly absorb it. Sitting in a pew every Sunday isn’t enough. Only by mindfully reflecting on the message can we really understand the meaning that GOD has for us and how we live our lives. This looks different for different people. Some will be avid notetakers. Some will simply let the message seep into their souls and will linger where the Spirit leads. Others will benefit from hearing the message again, and often can through podcasts or recordings. However it works best for you, allow the message to truly sink into your Spirit.
By not only hearing the Word, but allowing it to impact us in a deep, authentic way, we find ourselves growing closer to GOD and living out the fullness of life He promises us. May we begin to truly hear – and respond to the Word of GOD as he lovingly speaks into our lives.
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