As is the case with many parents, I never cease to be amazed by my children’s extraordinary talent for selective hearing. By way of example, let me describe a regular occurrence in my house. I frequently walk into a room where my children are and communicate some instructions to them such as the following: “I need you to get this room picked up, put on your socks and shoes, and get in the van.” After offering these simple instructions, I go about my business. Inevitably I return a few minutes later to find that nothing was done. Almost without fail, the excuse I am given is, “I didn’t hear you.”
Technically speaking this isn’t true. I know they can hear me because I have been blessed with healthy children, none of whom suffer from hearing loss. I also know I am close enough when I speak to them that my voice can be heard. However, it is true that they did not hear in a way that made a difference in their behavior.
You know what my children do hear, though? From anywhere in the house, they will hear you open a piece of candy or bag of chips. I can sneak down to the basement, jack up the music and open that bag so carefully and quietly – and they will still hear it and come running. That’s because they hear what they value and it affects their behavior!
As frustrating as this might be for me as a parent, I am realizing that on a spiritual level I can often be guilty of the very same thing. God has given me His Word and He wants me to hear it and respond to it in a way that has an impact on my life.
I encourage you to consider the relationship you have with God’s Word, the Bible. You must value God’s Word and allow it to impact your behavior. This type of relationship to God’s word requires discipline and must be cultivated. If you want to revitalize your personal interaction with the Bible, than consider taking these steps to increase the value you place on God’s Word.
- Fall in love with the author. This may seem trite, but the reason the Bible is so special is because it is from God. It is communication from our loving Father. Stop studying it for information and begin listening to the voice of God from its pages. Look for God in His Word and be amazed again at His glory and wonder. If the Bible’s impact on your life is fading, than perhaps your love for God is as well.
- Read with prayer. If you want God’s Word to make an impact in your life and not just fill your brain, than you need to approach it in the power of the Spirit. This means prayer. Pray before during and after you read God’s Word. Ask God to teach you and change you. Intentionally submit yourself to the Spirit’s teaching through prayer.
- Meditate on the message. You cannot assume a brief and casual interaction with the Word will change you. Spend some time thinking about what God was saying and what you should do about it.
- Make changes. Perhaps the simplest way to let God’s Word change you is to begin to make changes in your life that will align you with the truth you encounter. As the Spirit works on your heart from within, you can begin to shape your behavior from without.
As a genuine believer, don’t just hear the Word; consume it in a way that leaves you different. Make it personal. Examine your attitudes and actions in the light of its truth and be willing to make changes. If regular interaction with God’s Word is not changing you, then there is a problem. I challenge you today, get into the Word and prayerfully ask God to use it to transform your life. Trust me, you don’t want to stand before God and say, “I didn’t hear you.”