Have you ever had the Lord tell you to “Listen!”? He really gets your attention when He does that.
This is also what He does when teaching the crowds. His first word is “listen”. In other words, pay attention and take note of what I am about to tell you. Before He ever starts teaching you something, He needs to get your attention. In fact, the whole parable is about paying attention to what He says. At the close of His short story, He again draws them back to paying attention to what He has said.
He says, “He (you) who has an ear to hear, let Him hear.” What does that mean? This is a phrase that Jesus used often which makes understanding what He means valuable to us. In short, when you have heard His voice speak to your heart, respond. There is an action that you are required to do once you have heard from the Lord.
Now, not everyone is going to hear the same thing from the same message. Have you ever read the Bible and then gone back and read the same passage again and marvelled because it says something you never saw before? This should be common as you continuously walk with the Lord. I want you to think about what I am about to say because it may go cross grain to what you may have heard before.
The Bible and the Word of God are NOT the same! The Bible is a book which contains a small portion of history, poems, parables, stories, testimonies, miracles, etc., that the Lord felt we need to know to help us in our relationship with the One who is The Word. It is a recording of events that the Holy Spirit desired to record through men so that He could use them to enlighten us in our own journey with The Word of God. The Word of God is a PERSON, not a book. The Bible is a book that HE has written for our benefit.
It is not the Bible that saves you. It is Jesus Christ, the risen Lord, that saves you through HIS GRACE. Salvation is a work that happens in you when you HEAR AND RESPOND TO HIM. This is why you often read something and it has no inspiration. Then you come back to it and those same words light up like a Christmas tree. Now you have heard the One who is The Word.
When you read the Bible, look for the Lord’s voice in it. What is He wanting to reveal to you? Is there something there that He wants to teach you? Ask Him to give you wisdom, knowledge and understanding. He will. As you take time to sit and listen, you will hear Him. Then, when He gives you an instruction, respond to Him and do it. This is simple and profound Christianity.
Remember, God may be telling me to do one thing but that does not mean He is telling you to do the same. When you hear a testimony or a teaching, or you are just reading your Bible, listen for His voice and His instruction to you personally. Don’t just do something that someone else did without consulting the Lord first. I have acted on the testimonies of someone else and fallen horribly short. This is not because what they heard is wrong, but it was not for me at that particular time. Later, when the Lord did instruct me to do it, it worked.
Do not compare your walk with the Lord with someone else, regardless of who they are. You have been called to follow Jesus. This means you have to learn to hear His voice for yourself and this comes through your own personal time of prayer and meditation with Him. Often, when you are quietly spending time with Him or busy in your day, you may hear the sound of a preacher’s voice, or a Scripture will come to your mind, or He speaks to you through creation or some other way. Then He smiles and winks at you because you have just heard the whisper of HIS VOICE.
Learning to hear the Voice of God in your heart and mind takes time. There are a lot of competing voices in your mind but as you pay attention to what is written in the Bible and what you hear preached and taught through His apostles, prophets, teachers, pastors and evangelists, He will guide you into that which is TRUTH. He will draw you to Himself and He will help you identify His voice.
Remember He is the God of righteousness, joy and peace. If what you hear does not bring you to knowing that you are righteous, makes you feel happy, and brings you to a place of contentment, then you need to re-look at what you have heard.