On a recent trip to the gym, I placed my earbuds in my ears and selected the audible book I wanted to listen to which happened to be about faith in God’s Word (Faith and Confession by Charles Capps). One of the earbuds was not working, so I just used the one that was and began my workout. Within a few minutes. I was distracted by the loud music played within the gym. I focused my attention back on the words coming through the one working earbud. After a few more machines, I was distracted by loud sounds across the building for a few moments and then re-focused my hearing again.
All of a sudden, I realized that my listening condition, while temporary for my workout, was representative of every human’s spiritual hearing condition. There is the voice, the broadcast, of the gym, which represents the world and all the voices available there. There is also the voice of the working earbud, which represents the message of the Kingdom of God. I could easily shift my focus from the Godly message from a teaching book to the loud, worldly message of the gym music. I noticed that for the seconds that the distractions captured my attention, I missed what was said through the working earbud. I purposefully focused more on the book and the teaching words throughout the rest of my workout, but it was an effort. Hearing what I wanted to hear did not happen without my determined effort.
The same situation is true of our spiritual lives. We must make an effort to turn our focus from worldly activities, voices, goals and anything else that would distract us from receiving what the Word of God and the Holy Spirit have to tell us. The Kingdom of God is broadcasting constantly. The atmosphere is charged with the zoe life of God, and as His children, we only need to tune into it to hear what He has to say to us individually.
It will not happen accidentally or without our determined effort. It simply doesn’t work that way. Hearing from God is not difficult, but it does require our active, purposed choice to focus on the working earbud, our spiritual ear, that is connected to the heart of God.
Desire determines direction. Which voice piques your desire? Is it the voice of the loud, persistent world, or is it the voice of the love and wisdom of your Heavenly Father? Believers are in this world and called to win this world, but that will never happen if we are listening to this world’s voice more than the voice of the Kingdom of God. Evaluate the voices in your world. Evaluate the volume of those voices and the time focused on those voices. Which voice are you pursuing and which voice is the distraction?