Yesterday, I was sitting on the couch having a conversation with my wife. As we talked, a text message came in on both our phones. We both glanced at our phones and kept the conversation going. Heather put her phone down, but I kept looking through mine.
She said some important things as I kept looking through my emails. She kindly asked, "You didn't hear a word I said, did you?" My reply was simple, "I'm still listening to you."
Now we all know this to be accurate, listening and hearing are so different. We can listen to things but not hear them.
Mobile smartphones are only making this more and more evident in our society. The issue isn't only how we interact with each other. It's also affecting how we interact with God.
Currently, I'm studying the Gospel of Matthew for our church. We will be studying Matthew for the next several months as a community.
I reread the parable of the soils a few weeks ago in Matthew 13. I won't get into the fantastic truths about this parable and how explosive Jesus' words are here. I'll save that for our Sunday teachings.
Jesus gave us the secret to the Kingdom of Heaven. It's a two-part reality. Hearing the truth of Jesus and executing these truths in life.
Allow me to nerd out on something for a minute. Jesus would have spoken Hebrew. When the authors of the Gospels wrote the teachings and events of Jesus, they wrote in Greek.
Jesus being a devout Jew, would have prayed the Shema every day. The Shema starts out, "Hear o Israel..." Listening and hearing are not the same. This concept is central to being a Jew.
God doesn't want us to listen. He wants us to hear God. There is no word that means “to obey” in the Hebrew language. Shema is used for both the meanings “to obey” and “to hear”. Hearing something implies we'll obey. A disciple of Jesus is someone who hears and obeys Jesus.
Every human was born with a God-sized, God-given dream. God is on the move to rescue and redeem humanity. Part of the rescue mission is unleashing the God-sized and God-given dreams in humanity.
There is a theme all throughout the Bible that God speaks the truth and humans hear that word from God. Now the challenging part comes to act on that truth.
Human nature is that we want to know the answers to our questions. We want a detailed description of the plan. God doesn't usually give us those details. The secret to the way of Jesus is that we listen and do. In the doing, we'll grasp understanding.
This is what exercising our faith looks like. If we understood the plan or understood the details and went from step 1 to step 2, how much faith does that need? Following Jesus isn't a paint by numbers event. It's a faith-filled journey.
Just to clarify, working out our faith doesn’t earn our salvation, it’s simply working our faith out. Jesus freely offers salvation, we simply need to accept it.
People are willing to receive a word from God, but we tend to avoid work for God.
How many God-sized, God-given dreams go unleashed? Not because God didn't reveal them, but because people were unwilling to put in the work.
Photo by Ross Sokolovski on Unsplash
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