by Dr. Charles Stanley
Saturday September 24, 2005
Listening Carefully to God
The Father said of Jesus, "This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!" (Mark 9:7). Christ warned, "Take care how you listen" (Luke 8:18), and told the crowd to "hear and understand" (Matthew 15:10). Paying close attention is a quality that marks a follower of the Savior.
There are two types of listeners — passive and assertive. At first glance, both will appear to be concentrating; their mindsets, however, are quite different. The inactive listener has his mind partly on other things and gives little thought to hearing from the Lord. In contrast, the conscientious listener comes with an expectation of receiving something from God — guidance, encouragement, or simply His comforting presence. Although they might not consciously realize it, inattentive people are focused on themselves rather than on the Lord. Their lack of focus results in an "entertain me" attitude, which manifests itself in wanting a specific kind of music and a service that makes them feel good. Assertive hearers, on the other hand, are not happy unless they have encountered the living God. He is their primary focus.
If we anticipate that the Lord is going to speak, we will do whatever it takes to remember what He says — we will open our Bibles to sharpen our attention on His Word, and we'll have a pen in hand to record what He reveals. If we expect little or are indifferent to receiving a word from Him, we will not be given much.
The Lord always speaks purposefully. However, He is not always heard. What kind of listener are you?
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