By: Kevin K. O’Connor
Learning to Listen
Have you ever met those people who don’t seem to have a lot to say but when they do speak, you feel that you’ve received something of value? And, it’s funny that those who have a lot to say seem to make a lot of noise and yet very little of which seems to be of much value.
I’m very grateful for those our Lord has called to speak to His children and hope that these would spend much time at His feet listening to His voice. Here again, Jesus is our absolute Perfect example of how we should be. He, although was fully God and man, would spend all night listening to the Father. The result was and is that every Word He spoke was and is Life and Peace to our hearts. It’s no wonder that Jesus as seen in Luke 8:22-25 would try and grab some sleep even in a small boat that was being tossed about by a storm. It’s also no wonder why He could sleep while His apostles were frightened for their lives. The closeness/oneness of Jesus with His Father gave Him that perfect Peace.
I’ll never forget the days of courting my wife and the thrill that it gave me. I would stay up late talking with her and just being with her for the joy of just being with her was intoxicating. The result was that I had to fight being sleepy the next day but did that stop me from spending time with her? – no! In the same way our beloved Brother the apostle Paul learned how to bring his body under the subjection or control of the spirit man and not vice versa; 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, 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. But, if you look at how some men take for granted their union with their precious joint heirs of Christ, (wives), is it any wonder that their marriages are having troubles?
We tend to be so lazy not only with our relationships with each other, but especially with our Lord. It seems that our eyes many times are on how much ground we’re covering while Christ’s eyes are on how much relationship we’re growing into with Him. The only problem with past victories, accomplishments, and revelations with others and with God is that we tend to rest our hearts there as well while our Lord would rather us use them as stepping stones to greater places of fellowship with Him and with others. Have you ever wondered why Christ would tell some of those He performed great miracles on to tell others and then there were those He told not to? Mark 5:18-20 18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. And then, there were those He told not to tell anyone; Luke 8 49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done. Oh how I wish we wouldn’t get so caught up in the miraculous that we would miss the One performing the miraculous. I believe that those that Christ set free and who saw through their blessing to the Savior’s heart were told to go and tell others, but those who were “astonished” at the miraculous but hadn’t seen the heart of Christ were told not to tell others because they needed to grow in relationship with Him first.
God desires to develop in our hearts something much more wonderful than the temporary blessings to our bodies of clay that are here and gone. Once we’ve grown in that relationship we won’t care if our bodies are caused to suffer as long as we can be close to Him. Like the love that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had for our Lord; Daniel 3:16-18 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." This is the kind of Love and Devotion God our Father is wanting to see grow within the hearts of His kids especially within America a nation He has poured His Blessings upon and have in many ways turned our backs on Him.
We’ve grown to think we have His favor when our bodies are free of pain and our bank accounts are overflowing. How very sad! Of course God doesn’t want us to suffer and He would like to see us prosper, but more than that He desires a relationship of the heart; Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (Whole Chapter: In context: ) Notice what he says “even as thy soul prospereth”. America’s problem is that we’ve become so accustomed to His Blessings of the outward man, we’ve forgotten why He came and died and rose again. It was for our eternal soul; For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Whole Chapter: In context: ) and another good verse in this regards is And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: (Whole Chapter: In context: )
You know, when I lived at home under the authority of my Mom and Dad, they gave me rules to follow that we’re for my good. And as I grew to appreciate the joy of living in obedience to them by the application of God’s Word within my life, the boundaries they had place around me were loosened. Could it be because they were seeing the standards of morality that Christ was developing in me were becoming a part of my nature? Kind of like what happens to us Gentiles who didn’t have the law that the Jews were given but received Christ the author of the Law. We begin doing those things that please Him naturally, kind of like what God is talking about in Romans 2:14&15 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.)
So, our focus needs to be on living in His Love by the Light of His Word even when it doesn’t make sense to our tiny little minds for faith can go where reasoning can never travel. Now, when we get this down does this mean we won’t suffer in our bodies or bank accounts? – no! Just because the apostles were in the same boat with Christ as we see in Luke 8:22-25 it didn’t mean that they would be free from storms, but it did mean that they would be safe amidst the storm. Sometimes God’s plan is for us to suffer to bring Him more glory as we go through our trials with our hearts yielded to His; 1 Peter 1:6-8 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy,
So, in conclusion, may we ever learn how to hear beyond what our ears can hear and see beyond what eyes can see and know that His Heart’s desire is for us to walk closer and closer with Him each day He gives us the breath of Life to breathe unto His Glory, Honor, and Praise!
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