We are really good at listening to voices that we shouldn’t. For me, I notice it’s with the voice that tells me how I should spend my time. I go to work, my internship and events I volunteer for with no problem but it’s all the in-between time that I struggle with. There’s a voice in my head that often tells me, “It’s okay if you watch TV for the next few hours instead of folding the clean laundry.”
If I argue and say, “But can’t I do both? Maybe fold now and watch later or even fold while watching?” the other voice becomes more soothing and convincing. “But you’ve had a long day at work, that commute was rough and you know that it doesn’t really matter if you fold the clothes at all since you’ll wear them in a few days anyway.” Usually, these arguments tend to persuade me and at the end of the day I feel like I really haven’t done much. Plus I spend the rest the of the week guessing which hamper is full of clean clothes and which is full of dirty clothes.
Folding your clothes (or not) may not seem like a big problem, until you realize that this habituates the behavior of listening to voices that aren’t leading us to the things that God has for us. When we get distracted by comfort or greed or any of Satan’s other schemes, we are unable to pay attention to God.
Just because we have two ears does not mean we can listen to, and obey, two different voices.
As Pastor Scott explained in his sermon, the sadducees and other elders listened to Rome rather than God. When the lame beggar got up and walked in the name of Jesus Christ, it caused a commotion, and rightfully so. This “greatly disturbed” the elders and rulers because they knew that Rome would not be pleased and it could, in turn, cost them their wealth, status and comfort.
Peter and John recognized the elders’ allegiance to Rome rather than God, and they knew that listening to these men would be grossly harmful to their mission. To be quiet like the elders requested would prevent others from hearing about the truth of God’s miracles, something that had already increased the number of believers to about 5,000 people. Peter rebutted the elders: “‘Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.’”
It is clear you have to decide one way or the other: will you listen to God or not? Even if we desire to listen to him, we can still get pulled away from his voice and his truth. We need to take the time to identify who are what our Rome is. Is there a person that we listen to rather than God? A desire like greed or pleasure? A belief or idea that we know is not truthful? We can’t choose to turn away from these things unless we figure out what they are first.
We also need to listen to God, and respond to what he says, in all areas of our lives. It can become easy to think we are listening well when we follow God in most areas of our lives, but avoiding God’s voice in other those few areas that we don’t want to address can be detrimental to our whole self. This week, let’s open our ears and our hearts to truly to listen to God so he can transform us through Christ.