Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. Isaiah 28:23
With ears wide open Christians unconsciously do not listen to the Lord. If you really think about it how many times do we read the same passage before it has meaning? So often itís when the verse jumps off the page we begin to learn the lord wants us to change something in our lives.
I have a couple of dogs that are kept in a kennel, when they are turned loose to run you could shout known commands until you turn blue in the face but they will not respond. They wonít be back until they hunger and thirst after the food and water provided in their kennel. In the same way you can say things that other people wonít pay attention because they are not interested in what youíre saying. Some Christians respond to God the same way, but only want to hear the things that remind them they are going to heaven.
There are other reasons that we do not listen to the Lord. Previously learned doctrines hinder you from listening to God because you hear with a predetermined mindset and it can be confusing. When this happens remember that God is a God of truth which are consistently related throughout the bible. Holiness demands that Godís word has to be true to maintain his holiness.
Perhaps we have justified our actions in our own mind especially when everyone does what is right in their own eyes. Still not doing whatís right in the Lordís eyes is what we have to give an account for. In other words we can be innocent from all wrong doing but God can say all men have fallen short of Godís glory and have sinned.
Are we trying to avoid being disciplined by our Heavenly Father? As a child I can remember running from my father to avoid being spanked but that made things worse for me. Not only did I get spanked for what my father considered wrong but I got spanked for running from him. I learned to take my punishment like the son I was supposed to be and from the lessons I learned from my father I have become an asset to my fellow man. At the same time I have never been in trouble with the law and have learned to respect the authority of others.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
Strange as it seems the phrase pay attention is found 28 times in the NIV and hearken is found 153 in the king James. Throughout the bible giving God the attention he deserves is an issue that concerns God. At the same time God wants you to take his words to heart which demands that you take his expressed thoughts and actions seriously.
Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. Proverbs 4:1
As a guardian I learned that my father was not dumb as a hat rack and he had wisdom from his life experiences that I lacked. In contrast my Heavenly Fatherís experience far exceeds my fatherís experiences in age and wisdom. If wisdom is gained from experiences, my heavenly father has been there and done it. God has learned from those experiences so he is able to advise you of a better way to overcome the problems of life.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. Proverbs 1:7
Running from my father was foolish because all he was trying to do was to purposely discipline his wisdom to teach me the right way to do things. In some ways my father was headmaster of the school of hard knocks and from him I learned what not to do from remembering the pain of discipline that was extremely difficult to forget. What he did instilled reverence from a God given position of authority as head of the family.
Jonah could not outrun God and the discipline of being swallowed whole he learned to do what his heavenly father asked him to do. Jonah did what his father commanded even when obeying his father meant that it opposed his own thoughts and desires. Strange as it may seem Jonah did not want to listen to commands opposing his hatred for the Ninvites.
Paul was on his way to Damascus with authority to imprison those belonging to the way. However on his way to Damascus, God forcibly got Paulís attention by confronting Paul with the brilliant light of Jesus Christ. In the same way I had to get the attention of my child in order for them to listen and learn from me. Itís not that I wanted to punish them, but that my experiences told me that they were heading for trouble that they needed to avoid. Discipline from God towards me was for my benefit but the pain helped me to remember the cause. Recurring pain changed my conscious and made wrongdoing something I now wanted to avoid. Rebelling by refusing to listen to authority comes at a painful cost when all we want to do is be in charge of our lives.
Listening is a part of the love relationship to God that forms an open demonstration for the wellbeing of others. Listening is the ability to understand the expressed concerns of God and others. Without understanding, how do we please one another in a Christ based love relationship? Slow down, read the scriptures a little slower when you do you will get more from what you read.
Do unto others what we want from others. In other words if you want God to hear your prayers you had better listen to his words and apply them. We reap what we sow but are we sowing our lives to God. Has our mind been trained to focus on things above? The alternative is for God to send someone like Nathan the prophet to point his or her finger and say youíre the man.
I also have a cat that can be an annoying pest rubbing my leg when he wants my attention. The rubbing of my leg stops when he gets his back massaged but it brings satisfaction and the evidence of purring. Fellowship with God is the ultimate method of finding peace in your life. Think of it as evidence that demonstrates have right standing with God.
Listen to God when you read or study the bible, it demands you put your beliefs aside. Paul wanted to know Christ and him crucified.
No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1 Corinthians 9:27
Paul had to force himself to pay attention to the words expressed by God. Stay on the same page with God by making every effort to hear the thoughts and principles expressed throughout the bible Ė keep it thought per thought and word per word. Then train yourself to think upon what God is telling you. When you do these things you will deepen your relationship with God and present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15