Listen Well / Hear Well

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.
Eyes and ears and mouth and nose.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes.

Fess up! If you have kids you’ve performed that aria. Indeed, many of you read it with the melody playing in your head as you did so.

Everyone has ears. Well, okay. Vincent van Gogh had only one ear, but most of us have two.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:7, ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:11, ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:17, ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 2:29, ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 3:6, ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 3:13,ESV

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. – Revelation 3:22, ESV

Let’s just get it out of the way at the beginning – Jesus is not suggesting this has anything to do with our physical ears.

As I write this, my neighbor across the street is working on something in his back yard, employing a process or a tool that produces a rhythmic, obnoxious squeak similar to that of an elementary school playground swing set that is badly in need of lubrication. I hear it, even though I am not listening to it – well, I am trying not to listen to it.

There is a world of difference between hearing and listening. There is a way we can listen to a teacher that is dismissive, and a way to listen like a dry sponge dropped into water. Throughout his ministry, Jesus instructed us to be careful how we listen.

Being receptive, fertile soil is the entire point of the parable of the sower, which Jesus closes with the line, “”He who has ears, let him hear” (Matthew 13:9, ESV). When the disciples expressed their confusion regarding the parable, Jesus explained it to them saying, “Hear then the parable of the sower” (Matthew 13:18).

In Matthew 18, Jesus teaches on conflict wherein one person has sinned against another and is confronted. Following the confrontation, Jesus addresses how the individual “heard.” There is a back and forth of “if he listens to you…” but “if he does not listen to you…” Then there is a second confrontation with witnesses. “If he listens…” or “If he refuses to listen…” Clearly the man heard, but hearing, refused to “listen.”

The apostle Paul taught that listening and faith are intimately connected.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. – Romans 10:17

This echoes something Jesus said in the Gospel of John.

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. – John 5:24

There is a life-giving component to listening well, but it is difficult to do with discordant noises screaming at us from the world, the television, the radio, social media. It is a cacophony of information, misinformation, and disinformation, and as such prompted Jesus to caution us, “Take heed what you hear!” (Mark 4:24) Be careful to what you give attention.

It is vital that we hear not only the right things, but that we hear those things in the right way. Again, in Luke 8:18, Jesus says, “So take care how you listen.” The writer of Hebrews further exhorts us to the same hearing diligence.

For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. – Hebrews 4:2, ESV

Listen well, brothers and sisters. Examine everything. Solidify your biblical worldview.

He that has an ear, therefore, let him hear well, uniting truth with faith and faith with life.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon

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Damon Gray

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