Teddy, my seven year old, was on the other side of the house playing video games. I called him. Nothing. Again I called. Still no response. It was time for him to shower. I feel he needs to do this daily. In his opinion, this should be only a weekly occurrence. He didn’t hear me.
He has an uncanny ability to hear what he chooses to hear and filter out what he chooses not to hear. When I speak, his choice to hear or not hear is an active choice, not a passive one. He never fails to hear me whisper the words “ice cream.” It is more rare for him to hear me clearly articulate “clean – your – room” regardless of volume.
This is because listening (or not listening) is active. It is an action we intentionally choose to do. Our eardrums and those little bones convey sound waves. That part is passive. Our ears have an amazing ability to convert those vibrations into some kind of digital format which is transmitted via nerve to our brains. This is also passive. But whether or not we listen is a choice. It has to do with our focus, desires, priorities and attitudes.
Hearing God works the same way. He is always speaking. All Creation is sustained moment by moment by the Word of His power (see Heb 1:3).
The verse above (Rev 3:20) makes this idea very clear. Jesus is knocking. His voice is available to us. We have been given the spiritual capacity to hear what He’s saying. Our choice doesn’t cause Him to talk. He’s talking. We can’t manufacture the capacity to hear. That too is given to us by God. It’s also passive. But He still says “if” I hear His voice. If.
The specific grammar attached to the verb “hear” is also active. It conveys the kind of action that I choose to intentionally do, not the kind of action that happens to me unintentionally. Hearing is something I do, not something that someone else does to me.
Jesus is speaking. He’s knocking. If you will intentionally choose to hear, He will come in and share a meal. Let’s choose to listen today. His words are life!