Proverbs 7, Verse 24 -Now then, my sons, listen to me; pay attention to what I say.
Listen to me… Pay attention to what I say…That sounds exactly like a conversation I have with my son daily. However, when I read it to day in Proverbs chapter 7, verse 24, it struck me that although I preach to my son to listen to ME and pay attention to ME, I don’t exactly do a great job of it myself when it comes to God and the messages that he is trying to tell me. My son, Ethan’s, favorite response when I tell him to do something is, “what?”. It’s like he believes that if he pretends to not hear my words, he doesn’t have to comply with my instructions. For me, it can be VERY frustrating, to say the least. So, with that in mind, can you imagine how God must feel when I choose to listen to him, only when his message is convenient to my current wants, needs or desires. Each time Ethan and I have this conversation, God must be thinking, Kevin, check yourself, look in the mirror, you big hypocrite!
The irony here is that HYPOCRISY is the number one thing that troubles me about many Christians. Obviously, it troubles me and I am able to recognize it so easily, because I too, can be hypocritical. This self-recognition, is very uncomfortable, to say the least. So what can I do about it?
I think the answers to this question can be found in what it means to “listen” to “pay attention”.
“Listen”, as defined in the dictionary, means to hear something with thoughtful attention : give consideration.
I think the key words in the definition of “listen” are THOUGHTFUL ATTENTION and CONSIDERATION. If you are listening with thoughtful attention and giving consideration to what it is that you heard, you receive the message. There is no way that you can respond, like Ethan, by saying “what?”
Unfortunately, all too often, I believe that we hear things but don’t take the time to apply thought or consideration before we respond. It’s like we are so busy thinking of the next thing to say or do that the message goes, as my mom would say, “in one ear and out the other”.
Writing about and attempting to “live” Proverbs over the last week, has taught me a lot. The process of writing about a topic, that quite frankly makes me uncomfortable, has required me to slow down and really give THOUGHTFUL CONSIDERATION to just a few words. It hasn’t been easy. There has been a lot of stopping, starting, back spacing and deleting but at the end of the process, each day I learn something about myself and have greater understanding. Then hopefully, through taking action by applying this new understanding, I will become a better friend, Dad, son and Christian.
The hard part is now that I am fully aware of my actions or lack thereof, I can no longer pick and choose God’s wisdom only when it is convenient for me. Only when I like what it is that he has to say.
I hope you have a great day and I hope that from now on when you “listen”, you apply thoughtful attention, consideration and action to what you have heard.