Are you listening to me?
Have you said this before? I have - to my daughter and my husband and to my students when I taught middle school English. It is frustrating to feel you have wasted your time and your breath when you've been ignored or only half-heard. When someone doesn't listen to you, you tend to feel that the other person doesn't respect you and the words you say. In addition, if you have given directions, that person will probably not follow or at least not get it all correct. Have you thought of an example when your words have been ignored? Is your blood a little on the boiling side just to think about it? Yeah, me too.
This must be the same feeling God experiences when we do the same thing to Him.
James 1:22 The Message translation puts this way:
"Don't fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear!"
When we sit during a sermon thinking about everything but what is being said, God says: "Are you listening to Me?" When we hurry through our Bible study just to check it off our to-do list, God says: "Are you listening to Me?" When we pray down our list of "I wants," God says: "Are you listening to Me?"
By not really paying attention, we are showing God that we don't respect Him or His words. Our half-hearted listening means we don't have all of the information to do what it is He wants us to do.
We must be intentional about listening to God not allowing His Word to go in one ear and straight out the other. We are supposed to act on what we hear. How can we do this if we don't pay attention?
Reading further in the James passage we find that if we do pay attention to the revealed counsel of God, we will be blessed in what we do.
I always told my classes that God gave us two ears and only one mouth because He expects us to listen twice as much as we speak. Perk up those ears. Don't miss out on what He is saying.