Devotional: ‘Hearing But Not Listening’

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“Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matthew 13:9)

We’ve all heard the stories of children trying to talk to their parents while their parents are preoccupied with the newspaper or TV. Though the parent may pretend to be listening to their child, in reality they are focused on something else other than what their child is saying.

That’s an unfortunate reality in the home and often it’s an unfortunate reality in the church. People come and appear to be listening, yet in reality they are sometimes a million miles away. They have ears but they do not hear. Concerning such people our Lord said –

“Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand… For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”  (Matthew 13:14-15) 

There are many in America who have never heard the gospel and do not know how to be saved. There are also many others who have heard the gospel and could explain it as clearly as the pastor, yet they are also unsaved. Though they have heard with their physical ears, they have not heard with their spiritual ears.  According to Christ, the more they reject God’s truth, the more calloused their hearts will become.

Much of their problem lies in the activity of Satan. Paul tells us –

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

Satan is the god of this world and according to Paul, he blinds the minds of men so that they cannot see the truth. What is interesting to note is that the root meaning of the word ‘blind’ refers to blinding with pride or conceit. Satan tells individuals that they don’t need a Savior, they can take care of themselves.

It hurts me whenever I present the gospel and fail to see people respond. I often question myself, “What could I have done differently in order to reach them?” Though I will continue to try to improve in my presentation of the gospel, I know that ultimately the decision lies with each individual. Men have to have eyes to see and ears to hear in order to be saved.

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