” ‘Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.’ Then he added, ‘Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given — and you will receive even more. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.’ ” (Mark 4:23-25, NLT)
Have you ever had something you needed to learn or a subject you needed to understand? Hopefully, a mentor or teacher offered to help teach you and instruct you. You just needed to “lean in”, listen, and learn.
There are many things God wants to teach us, but first we need to lean in and listen to Him. Mark 4:33-34 says that Jesus never taught in public without using parables. But when He was alone with his disciples, He would also explain the meaning of those parables to them. Today, God explains things to us primarily through the scriptures and inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Proverbs 23:12 says, “Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.” A good listener has a heart that knows its own weaknesses and finds its strength and wisdom through a relationship with God. Matthew 13:23 likens our hearts to “good soil”, having the ability to hear, understand, and apply God’s word. The result is a life that produces much more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness than would be possible on our own (Galatians 5:22). This good soil is cultivated through consistent prayer and meditating on the scriptures each day. As we read the bible with humility, leaning in and listening to what God wants to say to us each day, we demonstrate discipleship. A disciple is a life-long learner who recognizes the Holy Spirit wants to instruct and teach them according to their needs.
A disciple, (according to Webster’s dictionary) is “a pupil or follower of any teacher or school.” It goes on to explain that “a true disciple is not just a student or a learner, but a follower: one who applies what they have learned.” Christ followers must not only gain biblical knowledge, we must also learn how to apply what we learn in our everyday lives. James 1:22 says it best, “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.”
Father, help us to recognize how much we need to lean in and listen to you every day. Make us life-long learners that never tire of your instruction. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.