The Distracted Heart

How are you hearing and receiving God’s word? Luke 8:13 speaks of those who receive God’s word with joy and celebration. They believe for a while but fall away when they face temptation. A distracted heart is one that does not stay focused.

Have you ever seen someone who has a problem and they are so busy telling you about the problem that they can’t hear you give them the solution to the problem? Envision a 3 year old who has just gotten a splinter. You have the answer but if they are screaming and crying and flailing, the solution cannot be administered. You have to tell them to stop, to calm down so they can receive the help they need. Abbreviated listening is another issue. Maybe they listen to part of the solution and then get distracted and don’t hear the complete thought or direction. We all do it. We get distracted. How do we learn to focus? Romans 10:17 reveals that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So, why should we want to hear God's word? Hearing God and having the confidence that comes from knowing we have heard from God gives us power over ourselves and our situations, brings perspective, imparts wisdom, sheds light on direction we need to take and much more. We need to know what God has to say about each and every part of our lives.

To hear, we must be in God’s word. Structuring a daily Bible reading is important. Knowing what God says in Scripture provides a foundation from which all other knowledge can be measured. The Bible contains God's living and active word, and if we remove the distraction and put God first in our lives, our hearing will increase. When we know what God has said to us and we believe it, we become stable and rooted so when temptation comes, we don’t waiver. As you are established in God’s word, you will find God speaking to you in new and unique ways and you will grow in your ability to hear. He speaks to us in ways we personally can understand and receive. He speaks to some by highlighting a certain scripture. He speaks to others in dreams. Sometimes its circumstances that He uses to direct us. Other times He uses a person to confirm what He is saying to us. Pay attention and ask God what He is telling you. Expect to hear from Him. He is speaking. Are you listening?

Have you ever heard of Tony Dungy? Coach Tony is known for many things but one of the most exceptional things was how he coached. He coached quietly, with high expectations of his players and a standard of excellence. He used a quiet, steady voice with unrelenting and unapologetic impact. He was and is known for being calm, cool and collected. In I Kings 19, this was how God spoke to Elijah. Elijah had the famous showdown with the prophets of Baal and then ran for his life from Queen Jezebel. In his desperation, he lost his focus and wanted to actually end his life. He was weary, he was afraid and he needed God to help. God couldn’t get through to him because Elijah couldn’t stop focusing on his problems. So, God told him to do something Elijah could hear. “Go to the mountain.” On the mountain, Elijah experienced a damaging whirlwind, earthquake and fire, as God passed by but God was in none of these. He was found in the gentle whisper. It was in that whisper that Elijah could finally get the direction he needed. He could finally hear what God was saying to him.

So, how do we hear God’s small still voice? When we’re buzzing around, putting out fires and distracted by much, we need to shift our focus to God. Put away the distractions. Find a quiet place. Seek God in scripture and through prayer. Listen to a favorite Bible teacher or the pastor’s recorded messages. This positions us to hear. Ranting about our problems does not do it. Busy-ness without direction will not do it. We have to get still and listen.

Do you realize distractions move us away from what we really want? Distraction pulls us away from accomplishing our own goals. Traction is an action that moves us toward what we want. Remove distractions and find that traction by refocusing. Commit to removing distractions. Be intentional. Put God first, expect to hear Him, and then obey what you hear. Your hearing will get better and better as you practice listening and not giving in to the chaos and distraction around you. It's God’s desire to be with us, to be known by us, and for us to be in communication with Him every day. Let’s tune our ears to hear and reap the many blessings that come from it.
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