One of our six children got into strife this past month. The issue being that they have being falling into the habit of failing to both listen and then act. There are probably many reasons for this occurring; like their age, allowing themselves to be distracted by their phone, tv, and others around them. But primarily the problem seems to have arisen because when they are asked to do something they fail to act straight away and put it off, saying, “yeah, yeah I’ll do it later” or “I’ll just watch this, or do that first”. But by the time they have finished what they wanted to do, they have completely forgotten what we asked them to do in the first place. My husband and I know that their age and maturity level has a lot to do with this little issue, so we are gently but firmly navigating them through this tendency as we teach them the importance of both listening and acting.
But how often can we all be the same when God speaks to us? We hear, read, dream or discern something and know that we should listen and take it to heart, but we fail to act. We too allow ourselves to be distracted, and hesitate to take the time to listen carefully, and then act accordingly. We too can fail to be what the bible describes as, “a person who is both a doer of the word, and not just one who hears.”
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the world and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” (James 1:22-25)
Perhaps like a teenager it is our maturity level, wilfulness, and if we are honest our tendency to not want to listen, but simply continue on the path we are on. We don’t want to be interrupted or have to change. Even when God clearly speaks to us through His word, or some other means we persist in what we want to do, and don’t realise or acknowledge that when God speaks and directs, it’s for a very good reason! He desires to lead us away from danger, life’s pitfalls, and the things that are going to damage us, and instead seeks to direct us towards the path of blessing, meaning and purpose.
God says in His word, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, Otherwise they will not come near to you.” (Psalm 82:8-9)
“Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, “I am the LORD your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go. “If only you had paid attention to My commandments! Then your well-being would have been like a river, And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.” (Isaiah 48:17-18)
Today, I encourage you to both listen and act! When God speaks, or you know that He is trying to catch your attention, don’t be like a forgetful or distracted teenager and brush what He is saying aside. Stop and listen, and then act straight away on what He is saying. If you aren’t sure, take the time to pray and seek clarification, and perhaps talk to someone who is more mature in the things of God than you are. Let’s both listen and act!
Prayer: Lord I desire for my ears to hear you speaking, my eyes to see what you are revealing to me, and a heart to understand what you are saying. Help me to not be stubborn, forgetful or difficult, but someone who is quick to listen and even quicker to act. In Jesus name Amen.