Summary: 4 of 10 of the series, Supernatural Transformation. There is a wonderful intimacy that Jesus Christ shared with the Father while here on earth. It is this same intimacy that God wishes to share with us! But this intimacy begins to take place as we learn
James 1:22-24; Various
Read at beginning of service:
James 1:22-24 (NIV)
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
Back when the telegraph was the fastest method of long-distance communication, a young man applied for a job as a Morse Code operator. Answering an ad in the newspaper, he went to the office that was listed. When he arrived, he entered a large, busy office filled with noise and clatter, including the sound of the telegraph in the background.
A sign on the receptionist’s counter instructed job applicants to fill out a form and wait until they were summoned to enter the inner office. The young man filled out his form and sat down with the seven other applicants in the waiting area.
After a few minutes, the young man stood up, crossed the room to the door of the inner office, and walked right in. Naturally the other applicants perked up, wondering what was going on. They muttered among themselves that they hadn’t heard any summons yet. They assumed that the young man who went into the office made a mistake and would be disqualified.
Within a few minutes, however, the employer escorted the young man out of the office and said to the other applicants, "Gentlemen, thank you for coming, but the job has just been filled."
The other applicants began grumbling to each other, and one spoke up saying, "Wait a minute, I don’t understand. He was the last to come in, and we never got a chance to be interviewed. Yet he got the job. That’s not fair!"
The employer said, "I’m sorry, but the last several minutes while you’ve been sitting here, the telegraph has been ticking out the following message in Morse Code. ‘If you understand this message, then come right in. The job is yours.’ None of you heard it or understood it. This young man did. The job is his." (Autoillustrator.com, LISTEN)"Let he who has ears to hear, use them."
In my view, there is a vast difference between hearing and listening. Often the words are used interchangeably but to me they carry much different meanings. The men who were waiting to be interviewed were hearing a lot of things in the busy telegraph office – even hearing the telegraph clicking in the background – but it was only the young man who got the job who was listening. You see hearing is something that occurs passively – it is something we have no control over. Whereas, listening is something that occurs actively – it is something that we do have control over. Hearing doesn’t always result in an action – but listening always does.
Listening is when we use our ears to hear rather than just letting our ears hear. We know we’re hearing when we are aware someone is speaking – we know we’re listening when we respond to what someone is saying. Remember listening can sometimes come from hearing, but hearing always comes from listening.We "hear" music, but we’re listening to it when the music brings us to some sort of action – something as simple as a smile or as complex as a dance. I know there are some times when I’ll hear my wife but she’ll be quick to point out that I’m not listening to what she’s saying – how does she know? By what I am doing!
God wants people to listen to him. Yet, we live in a world where many people don’t even hear God let alone listen to Him. And sadly, even the people who do "hear" Him, aren’t listening. How do we know? By what they’re doing! Remember listening is something that is active in nature – whereas hearing is passive.
Supernatural Transformation occurs in part when we become listeners – not mere hearers of God’s voice. Do you hear the voice of God in a world that is filled with noise and clatter? Better yet, are you listening for the message God wants you to hear? Throughout the scriptures God has always put a premium upon not only hearing – but listening to His voice.
Nehemiah 8:3 (NIV)
3 He read it aloud from daybreak till noon as he faced the square before the Water Gate in the presence of the men, women and others who could understand. And all the people listened attentively to the Book of the Law.
Proverbs 8:32-33 (NIV)
32 "Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. 33 Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.