If you watch television, listen to the radio or surf the internet you are bombarded with advertisements promoting products that can “revolutionize your life”. These informative commercials have become so prevalent that they are now known as “infomercials”. These infomercials carrying a stigma and have been the storyline of jokes, and also disdain. Those of my age group will never forget the request of Miss. Cleo to “call me now” or the distressed call of the aged lady for Life Call/Life Alert, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!”
The frequency of these marketing announcements tends to make us deaf to them. We hear them, but don’t hear them. We tune them out. So it’s as if they are not making a sound. It’s a great ability to have when dealing with young children, but not when you’re dealing with the word!
We hear with our natural ear, but listening is an action of the soul (our mind, will and emotions). Hearing happens subconsciously, but Listening takes a conscious effort. James admonishes us to move beyond the realms of the flesh and also beyond the territory of the soul to operating as a person controlled by the spirit, advising that if we stay in the flesh as only hearers, we are cheating ourselves. He instructs that when action is taken the word is not forgotten.
James 1:22-25 New King James Version (NKJV) 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 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
We also develop selective hearing. Selective auditory attention or selective hearing is a type of selective attention and involves the auditory system of the nervous system. Selective hearing is characterized as the action in which people focus their attention on a specific source of a sound or spoken words.
This works for us in that we hear what we want to hear, that which is pleasing to us, and don’t hear what we don’t like. This gets us into a whole different conundrum causing us to live beneath the privilege and benefits that have been provided for us.
Matthew 7:24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!”
A favorite activity of families on vacation on the beach who have young children is to build sandcastles. Some are big, some small, some are plain while others are intricate in detail. The thing that is alike about all of them whether built on white sand beaches, or rocky beaches, by those who are skilled or novices, is that when the tide comes up and pulls back eventually the sandcastle will topple and wash away.
This will also transpire in our lives if we don’t put action to the word. But if we do, we will be like the great monuments of the world standing strong for centuries providing wonder and awe for generations to come. We may be leaning like the tower of Piza, who built in 1372 is well over 600 years old, but still standing!
The saying, “when I say jump, you say how high!” is thought to be originated in the military. When new recruits begin boot camp the drill Sargent lines them up to give them initial instructions on how things are going to go. They’re usually trying to be very intimidating and forceful, letting the recruits know that it’s going to be tough and that they must follow every instruction to perfection. It is also meant to establish a non-rebuttal environment where those under authority are not questioning the tactics and mode of operation of those in charge.
This is the approach we should take when hearing God’s word. When he provides instruction our immediate response should be to start doing. However, the usual response is to start asking questions. We become interviewers and need to know the who, what, where, when, why and how of it.
This was a point my husband would drill into our son when he was small because being curious he always wanted to know why? He would say, “Do what I say first, and then ask questions”. I once asked him why he was such a stickler about this, and he advised that there could come a time when he sees danger or a problem and warns him to “duck” or “get down” to avoid injury. He went on to say that “if he has a habit of asking first before doing he will not respond and end up in harm’s way.”
We must also develop the habit of doing first. Sometimes God explains the why and the how, but sometimes he just says, “Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee”. [Genesis 12:1] The ram does not show up until we are found being obedient to the word.
We must know that He is a loving God who “knows the plan he has for us, thoughts of good and not of evil” and be assured that He will bring us to an expected end.” [Jeremiah 29:11]
We must remember these things as we execute daily. Remember it’s His will that must be done, not ours!