Those who can see and hear
Jesus spoke so often of those who could hear and see and those who couldn’t. I count 24 verses in the four Gospels echoing this theme. I am not so sure that we take to heart what He said. We think that we know what He means; we’ve heard the truth preached from the pulpit; we’ve read the Bible ourselves. Aren’t we in possession of His truth? Many Christians are convinced that they have the right beliefs, that they are going to heaven, that it is clear what He means.
I would suggest that He is not talking about our physical eyes and ears, but our inner eyes and ears, about our ability to hear what God is saying to each of us today, in this moment, at this point in time, and to know the truth when we see and hear it. Are we open to the truth and the whole truth or do we limit what we hear by our own filter, our own personal lens?
The question to ask ourselves is this: Do I hear His “still, small voice,” or as another translation reads, his “gentle whisper” among the clamor and noisiness of all that we been taught on this earth. And do we immediately reject what He is offering: “Oh, I can’t do that!” Or do we obey? So often we will find his suggestions take us in a whole new direction that we’ve never thought of before; hence, our response is to reject them. But we forget that He will be helping us achieve what He proposes, not we alone.
His teachings reach to the deepest part of ourselves, not the surface of our lives where the world and our egos are most powerful in us, but to our soul and the Indwelling Spirit of God within us. For we were created in God’s image. If we exhibit none of His image in our lives, it still remains a potential in us that only needs to be paid attention to in order to bring it forward in us. As the Indwelling Spirit of God is listened to in our deepest self, then changes, real changes happen on the surface of our lives, in our attitudes, in our thinking and speaking, and in what we do in the world.
On our own we may set goals for self-improvement and exercise and eating, but it is only God’s Spirit that can change our attitudes, our opinions, our basic approach to life. Only God can heal our often damaged self-image into one who is loved, forgiven and on the path to fulfillment. Only God can see what the next step for each of us would be to realize our created potential. Only God can make all this happen us, only He can open those inner eyes and ears to see and to hear what He wants us to know. And since He does not just take over our lives and direct them for us without our consent, He needs our willingness to go where He would take us, our surrender to His desires for us.
This truly is our journey into Christ’s mind, into the heart of God: we listen to the Indwelling Spirit of God and we do what He suggests. And what He suggests can be 1)to take a good look at some issue or attitude of ours or some trauma in our lives so that He can heal it or 2) what He would like us to say to this person or do in this situation or 3)a new direction He would like us to take, be it a job or place or whatever or finally, 4)what our purpose is to be.
If we are willing to go where He would take us, to obey His suggestions, then slowly, but surely, we are using those inner eyes and ears to see and hear what He brings to each of us. Slowly, the reapings of His healings and direction begin to show up on the surface of our lives, in our changing attitudes toward others and ourselves, in our ability to be at peace and joy, to offer love and real caring to others, and our purpose begins to be defined. From whatever age we begin to really give our lives to God, we are still in this learning and healing phase as long as we remain alive in this world. For there are many layers of resistance to God’s ways in us that need to be healed so that we can actually do His work in this world as His servants.
Along the way we begin to experience real freedom from the burdens the world placed on us. We begin to be at peace with whatever comes into our lives as we see that everything that God would have us tackle is self-affirming, that is affirming of our created self, not the ego. Our purpose becomes more and more defined and sought after, as we see how it brings us to the promise of our created selves and of His image within us. And we are living so much more in God’s realm, in the kingdom where there is love and clarity and mercy and justice, and so much less in the world. We then give out to the world what has been given to us: the fruit of the Spirit: love, peace, joy, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. And then we know we are living in God’s kingdom here on earth!
Questions to ponder over the week: Am I seeing and hearing all that Christ is saying to me? Or do I limit what He is telling me by my own filter/assumptions/preferences? What would I have to let go of to hear all that He is saying? Do I really want to be His disciple or only a believer? Do I really want to go wherever He would take me?
Blessing for the week: May we be the people of God who can see and hear all that He is saying to us. May we take what we hear to heart and obey His suggestions. May we live in love and peace and joy.
If you live near Charlotte NC I am offering a two-day retreat on “Living the Two Great Commandments of Jesus October 12th and November 9th at Caldwell Presbyterian Church in The Third Place, 1604 Park Drive, Charlotte, from 9 to 4. Register at firstname.lastname@example.org. $50. total both sessions. Bring a bag lunch. Drinks and snacks will be provided.
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Check out my other website, deepeningyourfaith.com, for information about spiritual practices and more writings about the spiritual life. New posts 2x a month. 10.1.19s is entitled “Two Principles of the Spiritual Life and One Great Practice.”
 1 Kings 19:12 KJV
 1 Kings 19:12 NIV
 Genesis 1:27
 John 14:27
 Galatians 5:22-23