A few days ago I was driving to a location about three hours away. While driving I had started out listening to a good Christian radio station. After a while I had lost the station and did not feel like slowly searching through the stations to find another good station to listen too.
I decided to pull over for a moment and search for a sermon to listen to online on my phone. I had found a couple that looked like they could be good to listen to, so I started playing one of them while driving.
The first sermon I listened to, I could remember what it was about afterwards. The second sermon, by the same person, after listening to it, I realized I could not remember much about it.
As I though about why I could not remember it, I started to realize that I was driving down the road I could hear the sermon, but my mind was not on it. My mind was thinking about other things. Thinking about things that I was seeing on the road, thinking about things that need to happen, thinking about the job, thinking about the future of things in my life, and thinking about things that had happened.
Later on I thought about what had occurred that day with listening to those sermons and how I listen in life many times. It is easy to let the mind wander around when doing something or listening to something. This causes a person to just be going through the motions of listening, but is not really listening. The ears are hearing, but the heart and mind are not hearing.
Hearing like this can occur a lot in the life of a person. On Sunday mornings, how many times does a person “hear” the sermon, but really does not hear it? He cannot remember what was talked about, he was listening with an absent mind. His thoughts are on something different.
Husbands are often guilty of this type of listening with their wives. I know I am guilty of this at times. My wife will tell me something as I am doing something else or just sitting there, but my mind is not there. Later I will ask again about that subject and she will tell me that she already told me, but I will not remember. I had heard it, but did not really hear it.
Parents can also be guilty of this with children and children with parents. Many times things are said that later a person says he never heard said. Children tell parents of their day at school, but the parent really does not hear what was said. Or the parent tells the child to do some chore, and later the child says he never heard it said.
This can also happen very easily when a person is reading the bible. Reading the words and hearing what they say are two different things. God has plenty to say in the bible, if we are just willing to listen to it as we read it.
God is also willing to speak into our lives. How many times do we pray to God for an answer to a question we have, but then do not listen to what God tells us? Sometimes it is that we do not like His answer. Other times we are not really listening for God’s voice.
We are busy searching for an answer or busy doing things in this life, so that we do not hear what God is saying. Then when He gives an answer we do not really hear it and forget it almost immediately or dismiss it as not of God.
As a believer we need to be in tune to what God is saying at all times. God spoke to Elijah in a still quiet voice on the mountain. He does not like to shout and holler His answers to us.
God will speak through other people, children, creation, books, songs, and any other media. You may hear something stated in a movie, a movie that has nothing to do with God, but it speaks a truth of God, or a lie of the devil. He could be pointing out a change that must be made in your life through something you hear or see.
He loves to remind us of His love for us through creation, tells us there is hope of a new day seeing the sunrise. Reminder of provision through seeing a bird that He provides for. Clothing is provided through seeing the plants of the field. How great He is through the stars at night. His majesty through the mountains. Being fishers of men in seeing fish. And the list goes on forever.
He may also speak to you to reach out to someone who is in your path. Or to go off your path to reach out to someone.
However, in all of these ways, you must be actively listening. Too often we listen absent-mindedly. Hearing, but not really hearing what is being said. That is when we get discouraged or scared, because we are not hearing what He has to say.
I pray that in the days to come you will be an active listener of God. Seek to hear what He is saying at all times. You will be amazed at how much God is saying, if you are really listening and will apply to your life what He is saying.