I was sitting on the couch watching tv or probably playing a video game when my wife would ask if I was ready to go. “Ready to go where?” would be my typical response. She would remind me about going out to eat. “Oh that’s right! We’re going to eat at that place we were talking about!” No, she would remind me we’re going out with some people to the other place. “What other place? What people?” I had no clue even though she would tell me about the plans weeks in advance.
I’m not sure about women, but men have selective hearing. Our ears are tuned into things we want to hear. Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer” says it best, “Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.” We’re tuned into things we like doing and things that are fun, not responsibilities and duty. Not all of us are like this, just 98% of men, in my opinion.
When it comes to reading the bible, we need to be aware of how we read the scriptures and how we respond. The bible is full of instruction, exhortation, encouragement and history. God wants us to receive 100% of what He’s telling us. But reading and hearing are not enough. God wants us to read and react appropriately. James 1:22-25 says:
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like.”
High school was like this. There were maybe 2 classes I enjoyed (Both writing classes!) and the rest I would sit and try to stay awake, which resulted in poor grades. Let’s not be this person! Here’s a few tips on how to read and respond to the bible.
When we read the bible, God wants us to:
This may be the easiest part. Before opening your bible, you could say a little prayer, like, “God I don’t understand much, but I’d sure like to learn who you are. Can you help me understand as I read?” That’s just an example, but you get the picture. Listen, God “cares enough to respond to those who seek him”-Hebrews 11:6. He wants us know who He is and He can’t wait for you to open those pages. If you enjoy using a tablet or smartphone, I recommend YouVersion. It’s a bible app with over 1,700 different versions of the bible and helpful studies and devotions, all for free
When you’ve read something, we need to ask ourselves: What is God saying to me? Sit and think for a bit. Reflect. Chew on it, so to speak. Write something out if it helps (writing almost always does help!). In both the old and new testament, God instructs us to love our neighbor, that is, anyone and everyone in the world. Care for them the way you would want people to care for you. Would that be for us today? God wants us to love all people? Yes. All people. Yes, this would be for us to do, which leads us to…
This may be the difficult part. God knows us better than we know ourselves. He wants the best for us so we can be the best for people around us. In order for this change to happen, we have to respond with His direction. There was a rich, young ruler in Mark 10:17 who asked Jesus what he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him if he followed the commandments and the ruler replied he did. Jesus then told him to sell everything he had, give the money to the poor and follow after him. Nope. The ruler had too many things he liked and walked away from Jesus. What could he have had that was better than eternal life I wonder? God challenges us with things we’ll find difficult, but it’s because there’s something better He wants for us.
Selective hearing doesn’t really work. We may find it easier, but in the end we’re just missing out on what’s better. What God is telling us in the bible is no different. Don’t miss out on what’s better for you!
Enjoy your day! God loves you!