Why Listen?

My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments; for length of day and years life and abundant welfare they will give you. Proverbs 3:1-2 NRSV

Much of what you have read here this week has centered on giving our full attention to the Lord. Learning to sharpen our mental focus on God is a critical piece to growing in our faith and deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ. But  giving attention is only half the equation. The other half is knowing why we want to pay closer attention to God. Knowing why is called intention. Intention is critical, because it helps turn our attention into action!

MP900422592[1]When I had my first psychology  course, the instructor let us know that as a Christian psychologist, he believed all human problems could be dealt with by confessing sin and accepting the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Maybe I was just naive, but the way he talked about faith in Jesus Christ made it sound like it was a magic cure for the ills of human existence.

Of course entering into a personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ is critical, but in my  experience it is not a magic bullet. Faith is a starting point. For our faith relationship with Jesus Christ to deepen and transform our lives, we have to intend to listen to our Savior’s teachings, and to the instruction and leading of the Holy Spirit.

That tells me faith in Jesus has to be accompanied by a change in attitude toward him. I believe in Jesus, and I listen to him because I want to love him more dearly and serve him more nearly. I listen because I want to become more like him. That intention opens the door to developing a closer walk day by day.

During his earthly ministry, some followed Jesus  because they wanted to hear God’s word and have a closer walk. Others listened just to trip Jesus up and prove him wrong. Then there were those who listened to gather evidence against him, so they could condemn and destroy him.Happy senior

But those who love Jesus and believe in him, have a different kind of intention. They listen to learn, to grow and to draw closer to God!

All this tells me that it is not just believing in Jesus that changes my life. The other  key is my intention, my attitude toward what Jesus says and is doing in my life. That shapes how I respond to Jesus’ word, and to his Spirit at work in me.

In a way my psychology instructor was right. Faith holds the answer. But faith is not magic. Faith puts us in a relationship with Jesus Christ. What we intend to do in that relationship influences how powerfully Jesus’ words  impact us, and how effectively the Holy Spirit works in us and through us!

So as you listen to Jesus and explore his teachings, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why?” Why are you trusting Jesus and listening to him? What are you hoping to get out of the faith relationship? What is your intention?

MP900448444[1]If you believe because you want to learn from your Savior’s example and follow in your Lord’s footsteps, then your faith will open your ears to his truth, fan the flames of your devotion and lead you to an abundant and victorious life!

 

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