RENEW | Day 24 • Ears to Hear, Part One, “Take Heed What & How You Hear”
I once preached a message in which I used 1 Peter 4:12 as my text which reads, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you.” In the message, I stressed the importance of understanding that trials and tests are a normal part of life, according to 1 Peter 4:12, thus we should not consider challenges a “strange” thing.
The message seemed to be well received with many people nodding their heads in approval saying, “Amen, Amen!” I felt assured that my audience understood the message. Soon after the service concluded, one of my parishioners asked to speak with me. She shared, “Pastor, pray for me. What I have been dealing with is so strange...it doesn’t make sense.” I asked her if she had understood the part of the message that addressed not considering “fiery trials” to be something “strange.” She said that she listened to the entire message. I thought to myself, “You were listening to the message, but did not hear the Word.” I encouraged her to listen to a recording of the message and review the Scriptures to have “ears to hear.”
Listening and hearing are not always the same thing. The fact is many people do not hear—not just in church, but in many areas of life. Listening is a natural, physical ability. Hearing must be cultivated through training one’s heart and mind to focus on what is being said and take it seriously.
Romans 10:17 says, Faith itself comes by hearing; “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Listening is the act that leads to hearing when we focus our hearts on the Lord. When you hear Father God it brings a special type of confidence that we call faith.
Reflection Question: What do you need to start “hearing” that you've only been listening to?