Listen and Believe
Are you able to listen when there are multiple distractions? I have difficulties 'filtering' out sound, conversations, or music lyrics when I am really trying to concentrate. I was never one of those students who could study with the most popular band's music blaring from the stereo in the background. I also know I don't do well where there are multiple distractions. My desk faces the wall, not the window. My computer desk is free of papers and the like because it would just distract me during my quiet time each morning. When I travel, I find a quiet spot, take my coffee and sit a while with God, listening as he shows me things in the scripture. Remove the distractions and we might just find ourselves able to 'listen to the message' God wants to bring into our lives today.
“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)
Listen and believe - both are active components of faith. We cannot have one without the other. When we actually do all we can to eliminate the barriers to listening, we might just find that God has been saying something to us all along that we have been missing because of all the 'noise' the world places in our way. As Jesus is facing the criticism of the religious leaders, he is also aware there are some in the crowd, his disciples included, who are willing to 'press past' the distractions of the 'loud critics' to hear the truth. We need to be willing to be like those who 'listened and believed' that day. As Jesus said, we can be assured we will find life when we listen.
Whoever imagined that life was linked to listening? We might not always want to listen, but in hearing what he says we make a choice to live. Hearing is the beginning of faith - it plants a seed of hope that begins to take hold the more we listen and obey. Jesus isn't just calling for his children - he is imploring them to turn away from the distracting criticism of those who do nothing more than put up roadblocks in their path. Distractions will always be there in this life, but when we do the best we can to manage them, God will help us lay hold of the things he desires for us. We must listen and believe - allowing what we hear to remove all our doubts. In the face of doubts and criticism, don't give into those 'distracting forces'. Press into God and listen. What he says next may just set your free to live in a whole new way. Just sayin!