Hearing God speak is a privilege we cannot overestimate! In fact, our ability to hear God speak to and into us knows no bounds! The key to hearing though is in knowing how to hear! The Bible tells us in Romans 10:17 “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Since there is no end to the revelation found IN the Word of God, the Bible, our hearing can just keep getting better when we hear by it!
And then comes faith, which also gets stronger as we hear by the Word. Faith is an incredibly compelling reason to read and do the Word of God! I mean, it doesn’t make sense to hear and then not do what we hear. We might even say it is quite futile.
Knowing how to hear correctly rouses us to do something with what we hear by applying it in our lives, and then living by faith and not by sight! Why be limited by the things we can see and hear on this earth when we can live a limitless life in Christ by faith?
Jesus taught His disciples and/or multitudes of people about faith-living by using parables, earthly stories with heavenly meanings. Parables serve a duo purpose; either to reveal or conceal. They reveal mysteries of the kingdom of God to those who believe in Him or they conceal those same mysteries from the rest, to whom parables are just stories. See, Jesus knew not everyone who could hear physically would “hear” what they needed to hear and He was okay with that! In fact, that was His plan.
Luke 8:10 “And He (Jesus) said, ‘To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’”
The “to you” people are His disciples and those who believe and follow Jesus. And just a reminder, faith in Jesus is absolutely amazing! Add to faith the privilege of knowing mysteries… well that is just too good to pass up.
Faith is the doorway to knowing! Jesus wants people to know Him first, and to those who do, “more” is given to know other mysteries of the kingdom of God. Let me just add there is only one way to describe the more we have been given: breath-taking!
And so with this “out of this world” knowledge of “more” let’s look at a parable Jesus told about a sower, seed, and soil to reveal a kingdom mystery about how to hear! It is one of the most well-known and talked about parables in the Word of God, recorded in three of the four gospels. A multitude of people gathered to hear this simple story about a sower who went out to sow seed. As he sowed, some of the seed fell on the side of the path, was trampled and birds ate it. Some fell on rocks and it grew but lacked moisture so withered quickly. Some fell into thorns, grew up, but was choked out by the thorns. The rest of the seed fell into good ground, grew and yielded a thirty, sixty, or hundredfold crop (that’s a lot of crop).
That’s it! That’s the parable! Jesus gave no further explanation at that point but cried out “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Well folks…let me just point out the obvious…everyone who was listening had ears! But not everyone was hearing… demonstrating that we can hear but not really hear; that we can physically hear without spiritually hearing; that there are the “to you’s” to whom it has been given” and there are “the rest”.
All it takes to be one of the “to you’s” is faith in Jesus Christ! Obviously, Jesus knew they had ears, and He knows what ears are for; to hear! So this was really His way of pleading with them to use their ears to hear correctly; to hear by faith; to “let” themselves hear! I can almost hear some of the people there thinking, “What is He talking about? We heard every word He said!” But without faith they only heard words without substance, because without faith we hear but don’t really hear!
Later, when the disciples and Jesus were alone, they piped up asking Him, “What does this parable mean?” And that’s when Jesus tells them it’s all about revealing and concealing! So for them, the revelation was about to begin! It can begin or continue for us as well if we are careful how we hear! Jesus was and is well pleased to share the meaning. He explained the seed was the Word of God and the different places it fell represent how we hear!
When people are on the wayside, they hear but then the devil grabs the seed even before it takes root, literally before people can get it into their hearts, preventing them from believing and being saved. The lesson from this is that hearing while hanging on the “side of the Way” doesn’t work and it’s not safe. The Word of God doesn’t germinate and grow in us on the wayside because it’s gone before we can get it in. People have ears on the wayside but aren’t letting themselves hear. The solution is to get IN Jesus, IN the body of Christ, IN Church because the wayside is just that; a way on the side.
People on the rocks hear the Word of God, receive it with joy but since there is no root they believe for a little while but when trials and temptations hit, as they will, these people fall away. When we fade from the Word, hearing doesn’t come, and when hearing doesn’t come, faith doesn’t come. In other words when we don’t let ourselves hear we stop believing. The lesson from this is that standing or balancing on rocky ground is unsafe and is not the way to hear! The solution is to get IN Jesus, IN the body of Christ, IN Church because the rocks are just that; hard, unsafe, infertile ground with no place to put roots down.
People among the thorns hear the Word of God and it grows but when they go out with it, the cares, riches, and pleasures of life choke the Word out of them thus they never reap mature fruit. These good people get all choked up by bad choices. The lesson in this is that being entwined in thorns is not a safe place to be because we can’t hear correctly by mixing His Word with the world! The solution is to get IN Jesus, IN the body of Christ, IN Church because thorns always stab, hurt, and wound when we are caught up in them.
People on good ground hear the Word of God with hearts of faith. They have ears to hear and they let them hear! The evidence of hearing is obedience, and obedience is the fruit of faith hearing by the Word! Good ground is the safe place to be! It is the ONLY place to be! We get IN Jesus, IN the body of Christ, IN Church, where it is safe, fertile, and fruit producing. It is the Way!
The bottom line to this parable is that how we hear is all about positioning! We hear from a position of being IN Jesus: Not on the wayside where His Word is snatched away before we can grab hold of it; Not on the rocks where we are unsteady and unfertile and His Word cannot take root in us; Not in the thorns where we are entangled by worldly things and His Word is choked out. We only hear on good ground!
The wayside, rocks, and thorns will always exist in life and they entice and invite us to live among them! So we must choose to stay on the good ground, letting our ears hear what the Spirit of God is saying!
You know, Jesus gives us every opportunity to stand, stay, and live on good ground! Talk about enticing and inviting! Friends, on the good ground we are given the opportunity to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God! Everything else in life pales in comparison to hearing mysteries of the kingdom of God by hearing the Word of God!
His Word is being sown today! Where are you standing? That’s the place to start because hearing loss happens when we’re not standing in good soil to receive the Word of God, to hear the Word of God, and to grow in faith by hearing. Our ears were created to hear and we can hear what God is saying today! He has made a way; take heed how we hear!
I said at the beginning our ability to hear God knows no bounds. I guarantee you this is true! So today, if you are struggling and can’t hear, just move from the wayside to the inside, from the rocks to the Rock of our salvation, and from the thorns to the throne. Move into good soil where you can hear carefully, clearly, concisely, and with clarity!
“Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Luke 8:18
(I used Luke 8 as my guide for this blog if you want it for reference sake)