To Hear and to Change

You know those moments when you're talking and the person sitting across from you is hearing your words, but they aren't really listening? They make eye contact, nod along, and yet they remain visibly unaffected, uninterested and unchanged by the conversation. You suddenly begin to wonder if perhaps you are talking more to the walls around you than the person opposite you.
I don't know about you, but I don't exactly enjoy these types of conversations. 

The truth is that I like to be heard; heard in a way that will affect the person listening. When I'm sharing about something I feel passionate about, or sharing something that's been weighing on my heart, I would like it to do more than just enter someone’s mind for a moment. I want it to connect with them, resonate with them and stir them to a greater understanding and perhaps even a change in lifestyle. 

I'm quite sure that we are not the only ones who desire a connection that produces a response, when speaking with others. If you read the book of James you'll quickly understand what I am referring to. 

"But be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 
For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, 
he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror, for he observes himself, 
goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was." 
James 1:22-23

"Was not Abraham our father justified by works 
when he offered Isaac his son on the alter?
 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, 
and by works faith was made perfect?" 
James 2:21-22

We might be getting into God's word every morning, and we might be striving to fill our minds with truth, but if all it ever does is enter our minds then we haven't really gotten all that far. 

You see, God doesn't speak to us so that we can have a fact and head knowledge type of understanding of who He is and how He works. No, He's wanting more than that. He speaks so that you might listen with your heart and be changed from the inside out. His words are meant to connect with you, resonate with you and stir you to a greater understanding and a changed lifestyle. It isn't simply to know the facts.

I may know in my mind that I have full access in Christ Jesus to true joy, but if I choose instead to wallow in self-pity and despair when the trials and difficult times come; His joy will not be my reality. 

I can know He holds the future and is able to be trusted, but if I do not obey His command to surrender all and lose my life for His sake, then I will not see the treasures He so longs to reveal in and through my life. 

I can read about His all sufficient grace for difficult times and challenging days, but if I do not quit trying in my own strength and allow Him full access into my life; rather than having enough, I will always be lacking what is needed. 

I can know my commission to go and spread the gospel to the lost souls in this world, but if I never once open my mouth, I will forever be a stranger to the power this life transforming news has on the lives of both the hearer and my own. 

Knowledge is something to be sought after. Meditating on His Word is something to be practiced. Gathering facts and head knowledge on the incredible wonder of our God is something to be diligent in. But, all of this is meant to change your heart, it's meant to change your life. 

It’s easy to grow complacent in our acting upon our learning. We get into habits and slowly stop allowing the truth of His Word to change our hearts to be more like His. To constantly grow may seem like a chore, but in reality it’s how we will thrive. This is what He created us for. This is what He desires in our lives- a teachable spirit that is quick to respond to His voice.  

If we stop acting upon His commands we will never grow to become what He intended; we'll never taste as much as we could of His incredible goodness. 

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