Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Recognition, part 24: hearing and obeying

Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!" (Luke 9:35 NASB)

The word translated as "listen" is, according to Thayer's, used to indicate much more than just hearing with our ears. The idea is that we are to not just listen with our ears to the words of Jesus, but we are to understand them so that we can obey His words. "Hear and obey" was the instruction God gave the disciples, and it is a good instruction for us, as well. 

Since Jesus is in heaven, how do we hear His words now? We read and study our Bibles, with special emphasis on the "red letters", the words that Jesus spoke.  This is not a "scanning" read, but a slow, deliberate reading that seeks to understand all He had for us in every word. This is a reading that longs to incorporate the words on the page into our flesh and blood lives, that meditates on the words, and hides them in our hearts through Scripture memorization. It is "listening" that allows the words to transform us. 

It would be really nice if the disciples had responded to God's command to listen and obey with instant compliance, but that's not what happened. Understanding came slowly. Change was gradual. So, too, it will be with us and those we love. The life of a disciple is a journey. We do not begin with maturity, but, along the way, we should develop maturity. 

As you look back over your life of faith, do you see clear evidence of maturity, of increased faith and faithfulness? If not, perhaps the problem is not a lack of hearing but a lack of obeying. God's instruction was not just to listen, but also to obey. May we and those we love do more than hear the words of Christ. May we also be so filled with His words that they spill out in our lives as obedience, demonstrating the truth of Jesus to all who see.