By Bryant Manning
Florida Southern College Campus Ministries
First, read Psalm 95:8-11
“Are you listening?” It’s a question so many parents ask their children in times of frustration. “I hear you!” — A child might respond. “Yes, but are you listening?” — the parent insists.
So it is with God and us too. As children of our creator, we wrestle daily with the one who asks us to listen and heed. James even goes the next step: don’t just listen to the word, follow what God says! Yet because we are broken people, in desperate need of a savior, we continually need that reminder from our creator that we are called to be a people who listen to God and heed God’s words.
One of the miraculous things about the Lenten season is that the dichotomy between listening and hearing is available for our reflection. The distinction between listening and hearing is one we learn as children yet continually return to when our listening skills are called into question.
Hearing and listening can be two very distinctly different things. When we hear something or someone, we recognize that they’ve said something or a noise occurred. When we listen to someone, we not only recognize that noise but we process it, stopping whatever we were doing or thinking about prior and truly take in what’s being told to us.
I find it a common occurrence in my own life of faith that I hear God but I don’t listen. Sure, I follow an ethical or moral way of life like most Christians but how often am I taking the time daily to not only hear what God is saying to me but listen? How often to I stop what’s going on around me and listen to God’s voice, instructions, and calling? We live in a fast-paced world that daily encourages us to rely upon ourselves more than any other person or spiritual being. We do a lot of hearing but we just don’t do enough listening. Let us listen to God in this Lenten season, reflecting upon who God is, what God is saying, and how we’re going to put it into practice.
Holy God, help us to put away the outside distractions in our life and focus on you, listening to your words and using them to help us shape our lives into lives worthy of your glory and reflective of your call on our lives. We love you and praise you, almighty God. Amen.
1. Is there a time in your life when you heard God telling you something but either ignored it or took some time in responding to that call? Share a story or moment if you’re comfortable.
2. Is there a certain scriptural passage that has spoken to you in a meaningful way? What is it? Why do you feel God speaking to you in that way?
3. Is there someone in your life who may be hearing the words of God but not heeding them? What could you do to encourage them to listen to God?