Hearing and Doing

Living It Now Journal: O-B-E-Y

Hearing and listening are totally different. We have not truly listened unless hearing is somehow connected to doing. The goal of Living It Now is simple: interacting together with God’s Word to hear and do what it says. If we are really listening to the Holy Spirit we should respond with obedience. James puts it this way:

Will we take God’s Word to heart acting upon it – hearing and doing, or will we quickly forget the reflection we saw without asking the Holy Spirit to help us live life differently.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like (James 1:23-25 NIV).

We all carry a mental image in our mind as to what we look like. How often have we been surprised by what we saw in the mirror looking back at us? God’s Word is like a mirror reflecting who we really are. But what will we do in response to this time of self-examination? Will we take God’s Word to heart acting upon it – hearing and doing, or will we quickly forget the reflection we saw without asking the Holy Spirit to help us live life differently.

Such self-examination requires more than just reading the bible or even listening to a sermon. Living It Now or doing what God’s Word says requires that we listen attentively, to stop and meditate or think carefully about what God is saying to us about our day-to-day lives. Lets ask the Holy Spirit open our spiritual ears to listen and our eyes to see the truth about ourselves as revealed in the mirror of God’s Word. And as we hear and see clearly lets also pray God gives us willing hearts to respond to His Word.

But I want to encourage you to take a further step. Take time to journal with me about what God says to you. You can do this by writing in a notebook (there is something special about pen and paper and having it in your own hand writing). Or you can also post your journal entry as a comment here. Even if you don’t post a complete journal entry post something from the daily bible reading about what God is saying to you from time to time. Our posts will encourage others not only to learn how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to us through God’s Word, but also not be like the man who looks in the mirror and forget what he looks like. Together we can encourage each other to take the all-important step to OBEY God’s Word.

If you’ve never done this maybe you aren’t sure what to write. Here is a simple four-part outline to help you think through what God is saying in order to O-B-E-Y God’s Word:

  1. ONE WORD Don’t let yourself get bogged down in the four to five chapters in the Living It Now bible-reading plan. It’s great to read through the Bible, but it is more important to zero in on the one thing the Holy Spirit is saying to you through the scriptures. Start by writing down the verse that seemed to jump off the page speaking directly to you. Yes, at times several verses may be meaningful from the daily reading, but just pick one and write it down. In this way you allow the Holy Spirit to focus your thoughts to the ONE WORD for today that you can begin living it now through obedience.
  2. BIG IDEAGod gave you a mind, now is the time to use it. But this does not mean simply writing what you think the scripture means to you. Allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher to show you the BIG IDEA that is being communicated within the scripture. Pay attention to the context of what was said in other verses before and after the one you wrote down. Maybe there were one or two words repeated that you could define. Be a detective or reporter and look for clues; ask questions and dig a little deeper to understand what the Holy Spirit is saying to you. Doing this will help you to make some basic observations about this verse and what it actually means.
  3. EXEMPLIFYNext, put God’s Word into practice. In what way do you think the Holy Spirit is showing you how to apply His Word in your life today? Remember, don’t just listen to the Word, do what it says – EXEMPLIFY it through obedience. Write out one or two sentences that describe the one thing God wants you to do making His Word come alive in your life today.
  4. YES TO YEILD Finish with a short prayer to agree with God about what the Holy Spirit has said to you through His Word. Sometimes agreement mean confessing or repenting of sin in order to turn back to God. At other times our agreement may be in the form of thanksgiving and praise. But don’t stop with the YES; also take time to YEILD to God. Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread. However, we don’t live by bread alone, but by the very Word of God. So ask God to empower you through His Word and by His Spirit to do what He has shown you today.

The psalmist sang, “You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words” (Psalm 119:57 NIV). May we likewise commit to hear and OBEY God’s Word. Together we are Living It Now!