If you are like me, you probably do not pause too often to reflect on who you are listening to. I was reminded of the importance of who we listen to in two different Bible readings yesterday. The Bible reminds us that we need to be careful who we listen to.
One of the greatest dangers in life are two fold. First, it is not listening to any outside sources. Yes, we are called to think for ourselves yet without any input we are like a device with no apps loaded. We are limited to what we already know. The Bible warns us against being this kind of person. The second danger in life is listening to the wrong kind of sources in our lives. This may even be a greater danger that not listening to only ourselves. The reason why is that listening to the wrong sources, on the earthly sense, can lead to personal and financial ruin and eternally lead to eternal condemnation. The risk is just too great for us not to take control of this area of our lives!
The first reminder from Scripture comes from the account of the Exodus. I have been reading through this section of the Bible for the last couple days. It is a glorious passage for God’s people. It is on the other hand a grievous passage for Pharaoh and his people. Pharaoh serves as an example of that person that listens only to himself. It is hard to understand how he could be so hard-hearted. Now some of you may recall that God communicated “I will harden Pharaoh’s heart.” Now, the Lord could have “hardened” his heart but that is not how the Lord normally works. I understand this to mean that the Lord left Pharaoh to his own devices. In fact, we read several time just that, “Still Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.” The results of not listening to the Lord or seeking the right council was devastating for Pharaoh and the people of Egypt. I wonder how often we “harden” our hearts to our own detriment and that of those around us.
The second reminder from Scripture is found in the New Testament book of 1 John. He gives a serious warning from another extreme, false teachers. We need to be on our guard, even with those that claim to be “Christian.” “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
The Lord has provided His people with several solid Biblical resources. The first is the indwelling Holy Spirit, God himself. The rest of the resources begin with God’s Word, the Bible. There is no substitute to not only reading the Word, but studying it to understand it more fully. Solid mature Spiritual Leaders (i.e. Pastors) and believers should also be on this list. The best people are those that know us and can push back with the tough truths that we might not want to hear. We have also been blessed with an abundance of others resources from written resources to online resources.
It is easy for us to become overwhelmed with all the voices in our lives. Let me leave us with this challenge from the Lord, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’” (Revelation 2:7) So who or what are you listening to?
-Pastor Joe Parkinson