Summary: We are discussing how to listen well as Jesus referenced in LUKE 8:18.
If we learn how to properly listen to teaching and preaching, it will literally change our lives! And, as with any subject, to learn we must be willing to listen and pay attention.
What did Jesus say in LUKE 8:18?
Jesus is telling us that we are responsible for listening well, and the state and the fate of our life depends on how you listen. Listening is more than just hearing with our ears. In order to change your life, you need to listen with your heart, mind, soul and your strength. Literally, this kind of listening is an act of love.
1. LISTEN WITH YOUR HEART
Listening with your heart is hard, because our hearts are messed up, and sinful. Often we just don’t “feel” the way God feels about things, we don’t want what God wants for us, or even care about the things God cares about. There are even times when we love what God hates, and hate what God loves, and so God’s words won’t sink in when we are listening.
The following describes the shape some of our hearts are in.
SOME HEARTS ARE HARD: they prevent God’s Word from sinking in, and the evil one snatches them away.
SOME HEARTS ARE SHALLOW: they keep God’s Word from taking root, and so when troubles come, his Words wilt away.
SOME HEARTS ARE THORNY: they choke out God’s Word with worldly worries, and worldly desires.
SOME HEARTS ARE GOOD: they take God’s Word , plant deep roots, grow, and then multiply.
We need to pray before we hear a sermon or message, we need to cultivate the soil of our hearts and ask God to prepare it so we can truly hear Him. Ask Him to help you feel and care, and love the way He does, and to want what He wants, then we will be able to truly listen with our hearts, not just our ears.
2. LISTEN WITH YOUR MIND
Our minds need to be full focused. Do you remember your first love letter? How many times did your read it, mull it over , try to memorize it, you thought about every word, your mind was fully engaged. ACTS 17:11
As we read this passage, it tells us of a group of people who treated God’s message that way. What did the Bereans do when Paul preached? First, they received the message with great eagerness, with a desire to hear God’s Word, and they listened fully with their hearts. Second, they examined the scriptures, they received the message like a love letter from God, they examined it, thought about it and made sure what they heard was true. The listened with their minds focused and engaged. God wants us to USE our minds, to be focused. Carry your Bible, open it and take notes, jot down any questions, write down any insights you receive, and then use them for future references, to help keep your mind engaged.
3. LISTEN WITH ALL YOUR SOUL
How often have you heard a message, and thought to yourself, “Oh, so and so needs to hear this?” We hear a message that is meant for us, but we immediately want to apply it to someone else. JOHN 21:21-22
Jesus had a message about Peter and his future martyrdom, but Peter turned around, saw John, and wanted to know about John’s life. Jesus’ reply to Peter was more or less, “worry about yourself,” and this is also what Jesus meant when He gave the message, in MATTHEW 7:4.
In order to listen with your soul, you need to take the message personally, and apply it to yourself. Don’t make any excuses for yourself or compare yourself to someone else, and don’t say, “but what about him?”
4. LISTEN WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH
What do you see when you look in the mirror? Most of us see things we’d like to change, so we try to brush it out, cover it up, spray over it, and rearrange what we don’t like. We also have another mirror, one that reveals our inner life, it’s God’s Word. It reveals who you really are and shows you sins to turn away from, promises to believe, attitudes to change, work to do, and the things and ways of the Lord that need praised. But, do we give them the same attention as the things we want to change in our outer life, or , do we just walk away, and forget them? We must ACT on what we hear, or you’re not “listening” the way God expects.
So, the best way to know if we are listening as God wants us to, just look at your life. We need to “walk the talk”. We can’t do this on our own power, so, ask God to work in, and through you. When we turn to Him, seek Him and ask His help, then we will be listening to him with all our strength, with all our minds, with all our soul and with all our hearts.
* (To see more studies, go to: www.bruceballministries.com)