Listening with the heart

I have Youtube subscriptions, Spotify playlists, and favourite podcasts. I have the car stereo tuned into local radio stations, and if I hit the digital button I can listen to radio stations from interstate and overseas. The world is literally at my fingertips. Radio waves and satellite frequencies abound in the atmosphere all around, 24/7, seven days a week, and all I need to do is tune in any time from anywhere using my device. There’s opportunity for me to tune into an overwhelming variety of things if I so choose.

I’ve been reminded lately to examine what it is I’m tuning into. Diet isn’t just food, it’s what we feed ourselves through the eyes and ears as well. As a christian am I hearing what God wants to say?

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus would often instill this little phrase at the end of the parables He told in order to illustrate a spiritual truth. The crowds who followed Jesus were there because they wanted to tune in to what He was saying. They followed Him everywhere as He taught, and healed, and performed miracles, and they listened with rapt attention when He told His parables. So why did Jesus say “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear?” After all, they could physically hear him!

I think Jesus was emphasising that if we attempt to listen to spiritual truths with our logical thinking brain, we won’t understand. We need to listen with our heart. Our spirit. It’s the ears of our heart that we need to tune in with. It’s in our spirit that faith is born. Faith cannot be born out of logical reasoning or by definition it is not faith!

This was certainly true for me. I remember as a young teen trying to read the pocket sized Gideon New Testament that every Grade 7 student received at school assembly (back when bibles were handed out to every student in public schools!) Over time I read part of the gospels but could not really understand, nor to be honest was I really that interested! In my mind it was a nice story, and yeah, from my Catholic background I had an understanding that Jesus was God, but it held no true meaning for me personally and certainly had nothing to do with my present day life!

I was tuned into and influenced by an amalgamated variety of religious, new age, evolutionary, and atheistic world views without even realising that I was! The noise from those world views came from TV shows I was watching, books I was reading, friends I was hanging with, an ingrained religious mindset, textbooks I had to study at school, and the general culture of being a teenager in the 80’s. In combination these obliterated any ability to understand what God was communicating in His Word, and because my spirit was still dead to Him, I was also incapable of listening with my heart.

Fast forward to when I was an eighteen year old. I was attending a church youth group with a friend and one night I had the realisation that God was indeed real, and in my heart I knew that I needed to respond in some way. So I took a step of faith and I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. My spirit came alive to God. I was tuned in to God’s spirit with my spirit (heart). I began to listen.

I remember being amazed when I learned that the Bible is composed of sixty six books written by forty different authors on three different continents over 1,500 years. There is absolute perfect harmony in the message conveyed from the first book of Genesis right through to the final book of Revelation! But it was nothing compared to the amazement that came each time the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart personally through what I was reading. Certain verses would jump off the page and be perfectly applicable to my every day life.

Faith had needed to come before understanding could. “if anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” It’s still true today. Christians all over the world testify to the same experience. That’s why scripture says “But without faith it is impossible to please Himfor he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb 11: 6 NKJV)

The whole theme of this blog site is Quietly Roaring. As I say on the site ‘Welcome” page, God is always quietly roaring. If God does not seem real, or close, or personal, then maybe it’s because other louder noises are the ones being tuned into! God will not over ride our free will and come thunderously crashing into our world loudly and abruptly on our terms and conditions in order to “prove” that He exists.

God speaks in a still small voice to the heart that is tuned in by faith.

We can’t see the radio waves and satellite frequencies all around us but they are there and no less real just because we can’t see or touch them with our senses. It’s the same with God. We can’t see or touch Him because He is spirit. But we can tune in and listen with a heart of faith.

“God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer.” (Mother Teresa).

Are we listening?

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