A humorous, but very effective telephone system commercial has been shown numerous times on television. Many of you have probably seen it. The commercial illustrates and promotes the extensive range of their phone product by showing a man who travels to various remote out-of-the-way locations. Then, while at each location, he speaks into his cell phone always asking the same question.
“Can you hear me now?”
The signal being sent from that cell phone is only one of thousands of invisible sound waves that constantly surround us from phones, radios, televisions, and countless other electronic gadgets. We are not aware of the signals because we are not tuned-in to receive them. Only after we become properly connected to the frequency can we clearly hear, and then listen to the message being sent.
God speaks to us in many ways, but unlike the man in the commercial, our Omnipresent, Omniscient and Omnipotent God is always everywhere with all knowledge and power continually sending His clear message out to all who choose to hear. It doesn’t make any difference where we are in life because no matter how far away we might be from Him, no one can ever go beyond the range of His mighty voice. However, we cannot hear Him until we first become tuned-in to receive His Word.
He is waiting patiently for our heart and mind to be opened to Him so that we can answer His call. God is always asking, “Can you hear Me now?” We cannot understand the message He has for us until we clearly hear and welcome His Word. Can you hear Him? Are you truly able to listen to Him and understand what He is saying? If you can’t hear God speaking to you, the problem might not be with your ears. Perhaps the real problem is your heart and your relationship with Him.
Many will try to study the Word of God as if it were a textbook or instruction manual that can be mastered by their own intellect and determination. The result is that they will read the words, but they’ll never understand the message. They will read the lyrics, but they’ll never hear the music. They will read and learn about Jesus, but they’ll never know Him.
We cannot simply reach out and take God’s message. James 1:21 says it must be received with a humble heart. If we want to understand it, we must open our heart and mind with meekness to welcome the Word. Only when we welcome the Word with a receiving heart and mind, will it be revealed to us.
But before we can receive the Word of God, we must also have a repentant heart. We need to humbly seek His face in prayer and call out to Him as the psalmist wrote in Ps. 139:23-24 (KJV), “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Then in Ps. 51:10 (NKJV) he writes this fervent prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
We must completely surrender our heart and mind to His will. Only with a teachable and receptive spirit can we learn the Word of God. John 7:17 says that when we are willing to do His will, then we will understand the teaching.
After we hear and understand God’s Word, we must respond to it by obeying what God is telling us. Jesus told us in Matt. 7:26 that if we hear the truth and don’t act on it, we are fools. James writes in James 1:22 (NKJV), “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
To obey Him by acting on His Word requires that we look deeply within our heart, examining it to determine whether we are living a life that is pleasing to God. Is your life a reflection of the scriptures? James explains further in James 1:23-25 (NIV), “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. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.”
Is there any pride, complacency, or other un-confessed sin in your life? What about your thoughts? Jer. 17:9 warns that the heart is deceitful above all things and is desperately wicked. To become tuned-in to hear the voice of God, He requires that we have a clean heart by humbly asking Him to forgive us of those things. Then, we will hear God’s voice as He reveals Himself to us.
For you to understand the Bible when you study it, you must believe by faith that it is the Holy inspired Word from God as He has promised, and totally submit your heart, mind and will to Him. It will change your life. Then when God asks, “Can you hear Me now?”, you can answer Him confidently with the assurance that He will also hear you.
You can say, “Yes Lord – I hear You and I am listening to You. I submit my heart and soul to You. Change my life now, today, that I might live it all for Your honor and glory according to Your will in Jesus’ name – Amen.”
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As my favorite journalism professor used to write on (some of) my papers, "On Target!" This message is so well done: you begin with something familiar--and interesting--to your reader which leads directly to the Scripture application, bringing it all full circle at the end. I wouldn't change a thing. Great writing, Don. "I think you've got it!" God bless the harvest a hundred fold.