When preaching, I have found there are two kinds of listeners.
The first kind are passive and nonchalant – people who can “take it or leave it” when it comes to the Bible.
Then there are those who are aggressive listeners. These people have a look of hunger on their faces. They attend church to learn more about God and to worship Him. They are not there to hear a pastor speak. Instead, they are present to hear from God.
There is a huge difference.
An aggressive listener wants to hear truth even when it may be painful to assimilate. He hungers for righteousness and thirsts to know more about the ways of God, and he yearns to find out the answers to his questions by probing and studying the Bible. People who are aggressive listeners will take notes, reread them during the week, and ask God to show them how what they have heard applies to their lives. They are not afraid to become involved with the active study of His Word. They want to know the truth because they have learned a great secret – the more they know about God, the more peace, contentment, hope, joy, and blessing they experience. If you read and study His Word, He will bless you.
Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near. – Revelation 1:3
God wants you to be an aggressive listener of His Word because He wants you to be able to comprehend the truth. He knows if you do this, your life will be radically changed for Him.
What are His goals for you in reading and listening to His Word? He wants you to understand His truth so you can apply it to your life. He wants you to be transformed by what you read, study, and hear.
So is My word that goes out from My mouth: it will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11
God not only has a purpose for your life, He has a purpose for the words He speaks to you. There have been times in my life when the only two words I heard from the Lord were, “Trust Me.” And I was committed to do just that – trust Him even though I did not know where He was leading me or what I would do. He knew, He is sovereign, and He has promised to love me forever. How could I doubt His ability and goodness?
And yet, when trials come or situations take a course other than the one we have planned, we suddenly find ourselves crying out like Peter, “Lord, save me!” It is times like this that we should turn to His Word, because it will transform us and remove our doubts and fears. It teaches us how to trust Him even when the way before us appears to be a dead end.
He opened the Red Sea for the nation of Israel, and He will do the same for you when you need to pass through to a place of safety.
Week after week, as you are in His Word, He is putting Scripture into your heart and He is molding and shaping your life for something absolutely wonderful. You can trust this: the time you spend learning His truths will not be wasted. He is planning to use you in ways you never dreamed possible, but first you must be trained by His Word. When you and I begin to comprehend the truth and allow God to conform us to that truth, then our lives will take on an undeniable likeness to Jesus Christ, and we gain all the benefit of knowing God and seeing Him work in and through us. When problems come, we know how to stop and think through them by asking the Lord to show us how to respond. We are not reacting any more; we are responding according to what we have learned from God.
Remember the story of Mary and Martha in Luke 10:38–42? Is there any doubt as to why Mary was sitting at the feet of Jesus? She truly had learned what was most important – the Word of God – and she chose to spend time listening to Him instead of busying herself with the things of the world.
What is most important to you? To be seen, noticed, or stroked for your professional ability, or to know that you are loved and cared for by an awesome loving God who has you in the center of His will and affections?
This is one of the occasions when God allows you to decide: you can resist Him and His Word, or you can receive Him and the truth He wants to pour into your life. If you accept His invitation to come, He will give you His peace to stand guard over your life.
He wants to communicate with you. I find this one fact very humbling. To think the God of the universe wants to know me, speak to me, and help me understand how to live is more than I can comprehend. He knew Joshua was struggling, and instead of just sending some simple word of encouragement, He came Himself and reminded young Joshua that there was no need to be afraid because he was not alone. The absolute Ruler of everything was with him, and he was not going to fail. When our hearts are weary and we want to give up, His Word of encouragement gives us the strength to go beyond what we believe we can do. Joshua had no idea how he would lead Israel, but God knew and He had promised to guide him.
Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. – Joshua 1:9
Wherever you go, God is with you – watching over you, protecting you, and providing the truth you need for every situation. The question is, will you open your heart to His Word, apply it to your life, and allow God to change you so that He can use you in ways far greater than you can imagine?
Excerpted with permission from 10 Principles for Studying Your Bible by Charles Stanley, copyright Charles F. Stanley.
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Do you know how to listen to the Voice of God? Are you hungry for God’s Word? Are you leaning forward in eager anticipation for His Voice? Are you reading Scripture and chewing on what you learn over and over asking the Lord to speak to you? Come join the conversation on our blog! We’d love to hear your thoughts and comments about seeking God! ~ Devotionals Daily