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Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

There is a funny line in the Jackie Chan-Chris Tucker 1998 movie, Rush Hour, which has become part of our family history.  Tucker is welcoming Chan to Los Angeles, but Chan is silent and acting like he doesn’t understand a single word Tucker is speaking.   Raising his voice, Tucker asks, “Do you speaka any English?  Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth?”  I have modified that question over the years and tend to use it when I think Becky or my children are not listening to me.  I’ll ask, “Do you not hear the words that are coming out of my mouth?”

Well, they usually hear me.  They just don’t always listen.  Hearing and listening are two different things.  When you hear something, it can go in one ear and out the other.  My kids would attest to that!  But listening requires thought.  To listen to someone is to give one’s attention to what that person says, even to take notice of and act on what that person says.

This helps me to understand what Jesus once said: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mt. 13:9).  In the past I wondered, “We all have ears, don’t we?  How could we not hear?”  Perhaps Jesus is saying, “Let the one who hears, listen!”  Our Lord invites and commands his followers to listen to what he has to say.  To pay attention to it.  To act on it.

“Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves,” Scripture teaches (Jas. 1:22).  How would we who hear God’s word deceive ourselves?  By thinking that hearing is the same as listening or doing.  It isn’t.  James is saying that there is little value – dare I say, no value – in hearing God’s word if there is not the attendant intention to practice it.  When God speaks, we should do more than hear.  We should listen!

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