Do You Suffer From Selective Hearing?
By Greg Sanders
Revelation 2:29 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.
I confess I have sometimes had a hearing problem. I often hear exactly what I want to hear. I always hear the call to dinner just fine. It’s the request to take out the trash that I sometimes miss. I know the person making the two calls are speaking with the same clarity, I just have an easier time picking up one statement better than the other. It’s not that I don’t hear, I just have selective hearing. Anyone who is married or has kids knows what I am talking about.
I believe we can also suffer from selective hearing when it comes to listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Several times in scripture Jesus uses the phrase, “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit….” On the surface that sentence is confusing. Most people have ears. However, most people also report of having a hard time hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying. Just because we have ears does not mean we hear. Many of us have developed Spiritual selective hearing. We only hear what we want to hear from the Lord. We only see what we want to see in scripture. This is not just a dangerous trap to fall into; it is also a demoralizing trap. We need the active voice of the Spirit in our lives. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit is always speaking; I am just now always hearing what He is saying.
So how can we move from hearing only what we want to hear into hearing all that He is saying right now? Let me offer a couple suggestions.
- Turn down the noise in your life. Life is full of background noise. When I am driving down the road in my truck I usually have the volume of the radio quite loud. However, when I want to have a conversation with the person riding with me I turn down the volume. I don’t want to have to shout over the noise. I am not convinced that the Holy Spirit wants to constantly shout above the noise in your life. I know at times He will, but that should be the exception and not the rule. Find time in your day when you can turn down the radio, turn off the television, tune out social media, and listen to the voice of God.
- Train your ears to hear the voice of God. Jesus said that His sheep know His voice and another they will not listen too. We have a beautiful 9-month-old baby girl. Occasionally, okay often, she gets verbal in church service while I am preaching. However, we have about 4 other babies in our church about the same age and they get verbal too. The thing is, I know when its my child talking across the room and when its someone else’s child. I have spent enough time and treasure my child so much that I recognize her voice. One way to train your ears to hear the voice of God is to become familiar with His voice. Here is where spending time in God’s Word becomes important to this conversation. Not only does Jesus speak directly to us through His word, Being familiar with Him in His written word helps us hear Him clearly when He speaks His word to our heart. One is not a substitute for the other. One trains us to hear the other.
Today’s Challenge: Turn down the noise and tune your ears to the voice of God. Take some time today and use your ears to hear the voice of God.