Is Anybody Listening?

Psalm 45:10a Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear.

I didn't hear you. It's a phrase that wafts to my ears many times a day. The speaker could be my kids, my husband, a friend or even an acquaintance. Whether delivered in the polite form, "I'm so sorry but I didn't hear you" to the irritated, "You never told me that", what's really being communicated is, "I wasn't listening!"

Today my passage is John 10:24-42. Here, Jesus continues to expound the parable of us being the sheep and He being the Shepherd. Yesterday, our focus was "my sheep hear my voice" (Verse 4). Today we will look intently at Verse 27, "My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me."

When I first attempted to truly begin praying, I found it awkward to talk to God. In the fullness of time, however, I have realized that listening to God can be far more challenging than talking to God. So, I decided to look up the word translated "listen" in its' original language of Greek. It means:
  1. Not deaf
  2. To understand what has been said
  3. To consider what has been said

Let's take a closer look at each of these definitions:

  1. Not deaf - This seems so obvious. The difference between spiritual and physical deafness, is that the former is often a choice. Just as my children have a choice to hear me say, "Clean up your room", I have a choice to hear God say, "Clean up your ______."
  2. To understand what has been said - Many of us have been exposed the skill of active listening. When developing this skill, one of the basic techniques is to repeat back what you've just heard someone say. This gives the other person the opportunity to clarify if necessary or affirm what you've said. Not surprisingly, the technique of active listening can be very effective with God. Here's an example of a conversation, I would have with God from this verse. God: My sheep follow me. Shannon: Yes but when you said follow, you didn't really mean like always follow, everytime follow, right? (Clicking of computer as Shannon pulls up to see what follow means in the Greek). God: The Greek word here means to follow one who preceds, be his attendant, accompany him. Shannon: Okay I get it, I can't really attend to or accompany someone I'm not with, so I must need to follow every time, all the time.
  3. To consider what has been said - As silly as my conversation with God may sound, it is necessary to prepare me for this next step. Once I "agree" with God that His Word says what it says, I'm ready to consider it. In my example, I might ask myself, "What does it mean to follow? What does it look like to follow? Is there any part of my behavior or attitude that looks 'wander-y' instead of 'follow-y'?" Once I have identified the action(s) I need to take, and then actually take it, I have really heard God.

Oh Jesus, please help me have a heart that truly listens to you today. Today I will unstop my ears, take the time to understand what You've said and then consider it. May my life be a reflection of my listening skills.

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