If there’s one complaint universal to all moms, it’s probably that their kids don’t listen.
My oldest son often appears to be listening, but he is easily distracted. He will start out looking me in the eyes, but then his eyes just glaze over and I know I’ve lost him. I often say, “Are you listening? Are you sure you’re listening? What did I just say?”
I often wonder if Jesus ever wanted to say, “Are you listening to me?” to his disciples. Many times in the Bible, Jesus told stories, or parables, and he often left his disciples confused. Can’t you just picture Jesus saying, “Are you sure you were listening?”
I’ve been reading in Luke, and I came across such a situation. In Luke 8, Jesus shares the parable of the lamp. Here’s the parable:
“No one lights a lamp and then covers it with a bowl or hides it under a bed. A lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” – Luke 8:17-18, NLT
Hmmm. I followed along for the first two sentences, but what did Jesus mean about the secret being made known? I can almost see the wheels turning in the disciples’ brains.
But Jesus continued. “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them” (18).
See? Jesus did want to make sure people were listening to him! But more than that, he pointed out that it’s important how you hear. The NIV reads, “Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”
This verse really got me thinking. I guess I’ve never really thought about how I listen, but it makes totaly sense. Like my son, who sometimes “appears” to be listening, but in reality, his eyes have glazed over and he’s mentally moved on.
We give our kids a hard time about listening. We want their attention when we want their attention. Since God is our Father, he probably feels the same. He wants our attention, but do we consider how we listen to God? Because if God wants to speak to us, he is worthy of our full attention.
So how can we “pay attention to how we hear”?
- Put away distractions. The Bible is God’s words to us. When we read it, God is speaking. If I’m honest, sometimes when I’m reading the Bible, a notification will go off on my phone. And sometimes, I stop and check it. Talk about distraction. We need to put ourselves in a position to pay attention to God.
- Pray. If we want to carefully listen to God, we can pray and ask him to help us hear his voice clearly. We can ask for focus. This is a prayer that God will answer, because it is God’s will for us to seek him and get to know him. We can ask God to reveal himself to us in new ways. According to the end of verse 18, when we understand what God wants to say to us, he will reveal more to us. This is how we grow in our walks with God!
God wants us to get to know him better, because he knows that in doing so we will be filled and satisfied. We will experience joy and peace. And, we will become more and more like him: a light that floods the darkness.