Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. (James 1:22-24)
I have been fooled by a good many things in this lifetime and there are still other things just waiting to dupe me at some point down the road, even my own folly. Since coming to Christ, I'd have to admit my own folly doesn't quite dupe me as it did once upon a time. In fact, even considering something kind of foolish now causes me a moment or two of pause and reflection. I have learned to consider my course - choose my steps a little better than I did in my youth. It certainly didn't come easily, though. Our folly has a loud and continually beckoning voice! It wants one way and that is its own way. Attempt to shut that voice down and you might just realize a battle is about to ensue.
We all 'listen', but what we choose to listen to may differ quite a bit from day to day, hour to hour, and minute to minute. If you don't believe me, stop right now and think about what you are listening to in the background right now. Some of you have music playing softly, others have a TV announcing out something, and still others will hear the laughter of children at play. We are all 'listening' to some degree, but the 'degree' by which we choose to listen to God's direction in our lives may differ depending upon our distractions, fatigue, and even resolve. Listening is only a small part of this battle with folly - acting upon what we know to be right and true in spite of whatever distracting 'voice' it is we are listening to right now is hard work.
Mom always used that little phrase, "In one ear and out the other", oftentimes describing how it appeared I was listening to her as a young child. She would also use it to describe how I needed to 'dismiss quickly' some of the things I was hearing at school and in my social circles. Remember the words of our parents asking us if our friend jumped from a bridge would that mean we would too? Her aim was to get me to 'dismiss quickly' the things that were pure folly and totally unreasonable for me to be responding to - in one ear and out the other. God doesn't want us to treat his truth this way, though - he'd like us to allow that to get 'trapped inside our heads', until it has a chance to fully affect our hearts.
God knows this battle with foolishness is real for us, so he gives us a great 'clue' in how to deal with folly - listen well. Don't just give his truth a cursory glance and a temporary consideration. Experience it deeply - let it be 'mulled' within your spirit and soul until it begins to change the way we think and respond to folly's loud voice. Acting upon always follows hearing - I think we get that mixed up at times. We think we can just act obediently, then wonder why foolishness was the outcome. We didn't have all the information we needed in order to avoid those foolish steps. We didn't take time to listen intently - truth taking hold so that folly would be exposed for what it really is.
The next time you stand there just taking in things around you, allowing ever 'voice' to have a place in your life, stop and consider where that will get you. There is only one 'voice' we should be attentive to - God's. There is only one truth we should consider before we take any step forward - God's. Plain and simple - we need to stop letting his truth go in one ear and out the other. We need to ponder it over and over again until it begins to expose the folly of our souls. Then we will be able to form the 'actions' we need to take to avoid that folly once and for all in our lives. Just sayin!