Keys to Listening to God: PART 2-Be Attentive


All of us have what’s called an attention mechanism. There are millions of details going on around us at any given moment. It would be unrealistic for us to think that we can focus on everything all at once. We can’t, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice. We do! It’s a known fact we choose to focus on some things more than we do others, and usually it’s the things that support our own beliefs and opinions. We have biases, and sometimes they get in the way of us perceiving the reality of what is going on right in front of our eyes. We see it one way, and sometimes our vision isn’t as sharp as we think. Having this play out in relationships can cause tremendous breakdowns in communication. A person can feel as though their side of things is never understood, considered, or heard. It can be extremely frustrating, and none of us should want to be the kind of person who doesn’t listen well or has selective hearing.

Recently, I heard the testimony of a 25-year-old man who had just learned to read. He talked about how ashamed he had been, and he also mentioned the many tactics he used to cover-up his illiteracy. The struggles he endured because he couldn’t read were not nearly as tough as those he eventually overcame during the process of learning. He was determined and kept at it until he was finally able to read sentences, then a whole book. The goal was not only to read, but to understand what he read. In order to achieve this goal at his age and in such a short amount of time, he had to be hungry for success. It’s the kind of hunger that doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It’s the kind of hunger that makes a person power through whatever challenges persist. This is what we refer to as ‘heart’, and you only have heart for something you truly care about.

God has given every person the ability to engage and hunger at a deep level. He knows that we can do extraordinary things when we set our minds to them, because He created us this way. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:21 that you can know what a person treasures most by what they desire most; because what they desire most is what they’ll go after relentlessly. This is why we don’t have any excuses when it comes to listening and learning about God’s Word. People will complain that they don’t understand the Bible, but if we have a heart to know God, we’ll go after Him. We’ll listen to His Word. And if we truly desire to understand it, the Spirit of Christ within will help us. So, in short, we must have a heart to hear in order to be an attentive listener.

Your Attention Mechanism
How we listen is extremely important, especially when it comes to our relationship with God. Jesus Christ instructed us in Luke 8:18(NLT), “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Many of us turn off our attention mechanism when it comes to certain truths in the Bible. We have built up a wall against some parts of God’s Word because they don’t jive with our own beliefs or with what we’ve been taught. Some of us love our religions or opinions more than we do the truth. In John 14:26, Jesus Christ said that the Father sent the Holy Spirit as a representative of Christ, and he, the Spirit, will teach us everything and remind us of what Christ has said. The Holy Spirit is the teacher, not us, and it is dangerous to take on a spirit of arrogance rather than humility when it comes to God’s Word. God will establish His truth
James 1:5(NLT) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” We can go to God with any question about His Word, and if we earnestly want to know, He will give us the answers we seek. In Matthew 7:7, Jesus said that if we ask, the answer will be given; if we seek, we will find, and if we knock, the door will be opened to us. Heavenly Father will not withhold the blessing of wisdom, but we must have a heart to know it—to listen to the Holy Spirit as he instructs us regarding the things of God. And if we need assurance of truth, He will provide it. The number three represents the establishment of something. Once something occurs three times, it is generally confirmed. We see this in God’s Word. So when we’re studying scripture and want to be sure we’re understanding it, we can ask and God will establish it in our hearts; He’ll do so in ways that are particularly meaningful to us.

Because we are sometimes only interested in what we want to hear, we risk missing very important details that are necessary for fulfilling our destinies. These details are specifics about what God has called us to do; therefore, our reception to new revelation that comes from being attentive to His Word is vital. We must focus our attention mechanism with a heart to listen to Heavenly Father. Proverbs 27:17 tells us that iron sharpens iron, and we should be able as brothers and sisters in the Lord to sharpen each other. This is God’s desire, that we are diligent, attentive, and learning to be sharp by picking up on the details of what He’s establishing in us. We must ask Him questions when we don’t understand clearly, and be patient to listen because He is continually speaking to us through His Word and through the Holy Spirit that indwells us.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Keys to Listening to God: PART 2- Be Attentive” written by JMack,© 2019. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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