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Listen Up!

Posted by Stephen Birkett on

This is my beloved Son; listen to Him. Mark 9:7

One small word made a particular impression on me among the bigger and weightier words in the sermon last week: “listen!” This was probably because at the end of the previous week’s Island ECC Walking with God course, the group resolved to spend at least one minute daily for the following week listening to God. Just listening.

During the week I was reminded that listening doesn’t come naturally. As a parent, I want my children to listen to my pearls of wisdom, of course; but as a child of God, I want to do most of the talking rather than listening out for His wisdom. We even congratulate ourselves on spending “quiet time” with Him, though it is usually not so quiet on our side as we use our one mouth more than our two ears.

Of course, God does love to hear us express our issues and we grow spiritually as we talk to Him. But those words “listen to Him” were surely not just for the three disciples present but also for us. He did not tell us to follow, obey or imitate Jesus, which would have been all about our actions. Instead, He called on us to listen, which is all about our attention, heart and relationship. If these are cued by Christ, we will grow and be transformed, and the right actions will flow from that.

The trouble is, we and our attention tend to wander off, relegating Jesus to routines and compartments in our calendar. This must leave Him feeling saddened, like a parent who’s trying to connect with a beloved teenager through a seal of headphones and wall of social media activity. It’s ironic that this can be so, even though the other things jostling in our calendar can be “good” activities that we think will make Him happy.

So we need frequent reminders to listen up, and reach beyond routines to relationship. Let us:

  • Thank God that He is always ready to speak into our own individual circumstances; and,
  • Pray for a thirst to hear from Him, and an increasing understanding and acceptance of what He has to say.

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