Ears to Hear?

Ears to hear?
How’s your hearing?   With age, mine isn’t what it used to be.  When I ask Bev to repeat something she said while in another room, it frustrates her. But, some loss of ability to hear quiet or higher pitched tones is normal.  Of greater concern to me is the ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit!  In the book of the Revelation, there is a phrase repeated seven times in the first three chapters: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Revelation 2:29, NIV)  If I become spiritually hard of hearing, I lose a precious treasure – the joy of knowing Him, being led by Him.
Francis Chan, author of Forgotten God, a book about the Spirit’s ministry, reminds us that we should live with an amazing intimacy with the Spirit.  His Presence and voice reaches us in places where other people cannot come.  When we are sick, traveling, fearful, alone, worshiping, working … everywhere, He is there!  But, are we aware of Him? Are our ears open to His voice?  Obviously living in open rebellion cuts us off from knowing the fellowship of the Lord.  Chan suggests less obvious things that creep into our lives that rob us of our ability to listen to the Spirit.
First, he says, we can value our comfort more than His leading!  Are you willing to let Him direct you out of the place where you feel ‘at home?’  I am not just talking about a call to missions work in some nation on the far side of the world!  Will you let Him lead you across the street to serve a neighbor?  Will you let Him lead you to forgive that person you have grown to despise?  Will you let Him lead you to a place of obscure service that has no immediate reward? Will you listen when He invites you to grow deeper in the character of Christ Jesus, by taking you along a path that is difficult?  OR, will you love comfort so much that you ignore Him?  The cost of discipleship is obedience. Knowing the rewards of being the child of God demands that we are willing to live as Jesus lived.  “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 8:15-17, NIV)
Second, Chan says that we can be spiritually deafened by the noise that fills every waking moment. For most of us, every day is full of interaction.  Phones we carry everywhere buzz, beep, and jingle signaling texts and requests to talk.  We stick little speakers in our ears that pipe a stream of music into our brain while we walk, work, and exercise.  The TV is on for hours.  In all that clamor, the Holy Spirit’s voice can be lost to us.  We may hear His voice deep inside, but only respond with a ‘huh, what did You say?’ before turning up the volume of the noise of life.  Jesus found time to be alone with His Father.  If the perfect Man needed that quiet to hear the voice of the Spirit clearing, how can we think we have less need for listening in the quiet?  Contemplative prayer is a lost art for many of us. No wonder we wander so far from God!
The Spirit is not silent!  Can you hear His voice?
This word from the Word carries great promise. “Oh, Lord, may we listen well that we may live in the place of Your peace. Amen.”
“Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.”
And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me, with his Spirit. This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your righteousness like the waves of the sea.”
(Isaiah 48:16-18, NIV)

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