Listening to What We Don't Like to Hear
Chris' Corner -- Sunday, March 21, 2021
There have been times in our lives when we heard some preacher teaching on some-thing we didn’t particularly want to hear, but we knew we needed to hear it. We may come across a passage in our personal Bible reading and study that hones in on some-thing we needed to think about at that time. We can’t escape it. It’s now in our head, and we need to deal with it, to be at peace with our conscience.
No matter what the topic might be, if it is truth from God’s word, we must be open to hear it and make the application necessary in our lives. When we are wrestling with some question, some concern, or some sin in our lives, why would we not want to hear God’s perfect will on the matter? It may not be pleasant to hear. It may involve a wrestling match between the truth and our human reasoning, but the struggle will prove to be well worth it.
“Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:12–13).
Paul says, we are not beyond the possibility of falling. Everyone is tempted, but we will not be overcome if we take advantage of the ways of escape the Lord provides through His providence. The trouble is, we all fall short of doing this. ”Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Preachers preach to themselves long before they stand before the congregation and speak. Their toes are sore before they ever step on anyone else’s. No Christian should sin habitually, but we all sin occasionally (1 John 1:8-10). Sins, shortcomings, imperfections are ongoing and need daily attention and consideration.
God wants us to fight the sin in our lives. Preachers must preach without compromise as they consider their own lives. Paul said, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Also, “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted” (Galatians 6:1).
Don’t be guilty of selective hearing—only listening to God’s word when it tells us what we want to hear. Don’t refuse the whole counsel of God. Preachers must not shun to declare such (Acts 20:27).
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
What we need to hear is not necessarily what we want to hear. In His wisdom and love, God gave us the Bible where He has addressed every issue, every sin, every concern we need to consider getting things right and get to heaven.
“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:2, 3). It’s all there for our benefit (2 Timothy 3:14-17), but only if we listen and apply it.
Jesus told the lukewarm, self-satisfied church of Laodicea, ”As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent...To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:19, 21).
Just because we are not the greatest sinner around, doesn’t mean we don’t sin. With a heart of humility, may we listen and submit to whatever God says, leaving nothing out.