Why Listening to God May Not Really Be Listening to God

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When I open up TikTok and start scrolling it’s no surprise to hear the same song over and over again. At least one part of the song.

The short length of videos on TikTok makes it perfect to hear the catchiest part of a song without having to listen to the rest of it. There’s a song on Taylor Swift’s most recent album that I’ve never listened to all the way through even though I’ve heard a ten-second clip of it hundreds of times.

So here’s a question: Have I listened to that song? I could easily sing the chorus to you. I’m familiar with the beat and the instrumentation. I know a bunch of the lyrics. But have I really listened to it? Do I know the song? Honestly, no. There could be a bridge I wouldn’t even recognize.

While this may not be much of a problem when it comes to popular music, it can be a little more problematic when it comes to following Jesus.

Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.
Matthew 13:9

Jesus often encouraged people to listen and pay attention to what he taught. He called on his followers to fully and regularly reflect on the message he taught.

To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.
Matthew 13:12-13

When you regularly attend church services it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you have a good grasp on everything Jesus taught. If you think that, you’re mistaken. The Bible has a way of revealing complex things that can only be uncovered by consistently reflecting on Jesus and his teachings. Just because you’ve heard the chorus a million times doesn’t mean you really know the whole song.

I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life. And I assure you that the time is coming, indeed it’s here now, when the dead will hear my voice—the voice of the Son of God. And those who listen will live.
John 5:24-25

Those who listen will live. Because of that, I want to challenge you to listen, whatever that looks like for you. Let the message and story of Jesus be something that you come back to, reflect on, and think about every day. Let it be the touchstone of your life.

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