Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20
The words of Christ to the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3:14-21 are convicting. After applauding the church of Philadelphia for keeping his command to endure patiently (v. 10), Jesus rebuked the church at Laodicea for being spiritually lukewarm and arrogant. He exhorts the church at Laodicea to forego its arrogant confidence in its wealth and to repent. Then he reminds them they can have a right relationship with him if they listen to his voice.
Listening to the voice of God requires that we remain tuned-in to the frequency of God’s voice through the Holy Spirit. That can be challenging at times as we are constantly bombarded with a cacophony of sounds that can drown out God’s quiet voice. Yet we should be reminded that God is always knocking at the door of our hearts and speaking to us through His Holy Spirit, so we do not lose our way. We just have to learn to listen.
Listening and hearing are two different things. Many Christians hear God. However, they do not listen to Him. Hearing is said to be an accidental and automatic response to sound that requires no effort. Listening processes the sounds we hear with our minds. It is focused, voluntary, and intentional.
No one listens accidentally. In listening, we use cognitive ability to understand, interpret, and put meaning to what we hear. In today’s text, Jesus is not only asking people to hear him. He wants them to listen to him.
Some advertisers use slick-talking spokespeople at the end of many commercials to rapidly read the fine line where they bury the conditions, or process for getting a refund. A consumer has to actively listen to what the spokesperson says so he or she can be truly informed about that product and the conditions for purchasing it. Otherwise, they may not get a refund if the product malfunctions.
Many people hear the gospel preached on numerous occasions, yet they refuse to listen to the soul-saving message of Jesus so they can voluntarily and intentionally open the door of their hearts to let him in. Some Christians hear sermons after sermons and never experience a genuine spiritual rebirth because they do not listen to the preached word.
Listening to the voice of God is always followed by a godly response. As spiritual sheep, we have to listen when our Shepherd tells us to go left or right. He is the one leading us to the good pasture beside still waters. He knows what is best for us, and has put together a plan to prosper us in every way. However, we have to listen to his voice.
James 1:19 tells us, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” There is always more to a story than what we hear. In listening, we use emotional intelligence to go beyond the sound we hear for the sake of understanding.
Proverbs 18:13 says, “To answer before listening—that is folly and shame.” The times when I put my foot in my mouth, so to speak, is when I answer without listening. Arguments are often the result of people answering without listening. Many Christians answer a call to ministry without listening to the expectations or sacrifice that is required. Thus, when they face resistance or adversity, they quit because they did not listen to the job description.
I often hear people say; I cannot hear the voice of God. That is because they are not listening. God sends messages through a variety of channels. However, many of us choose not to listen, though we hear the warning or the instruction. Those who listen to the voice of God are never forsaken or defeated. God does take care of his own!
Prayer- Blessed Lord, unclog the ears of our soul so we can listen to your instructions and obey your commands.