Our exploits and success in any area of life are dependent on our spiritual command in that area. The more we grow, the more productive we become.*
Now, spiritual growth is dependent on our commitment to the Word of God. Because we live in a time-controlled world, being intentional in our fellowship with the Word means spending ample time studying it. However, what counts during our interaction with God's Word is how much of it we received or believe.
So be careful how you listen; for whoever has [a teachable heart], to him more [understanding] will be given; and whoever does not have [a longing for truth], even what he thinks he has will be taken away from him.
Luke 8 : 18 AMP
The scripture has admonished us at different times to watch what we listen to or hear. But on this occasion, Jesus is warning us to be wary of how we hear.
How then do we hear the right way? How do we receive the Word of God?
1. Acknowledge the validity of the Word
And we also thank God continually for this, that when you received the word of God [concerning salvation] which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].
1 Thessalonians 2: 13 AMP
The first step to receiving the Word of God is accepting that what we are hearing is the infallible Word of God. If we see the Word as an opinion/ idea that is subject to change, then we cannot receive that revealed truth.
If we consider any message as subject to the prevailing situations, then that Word would be unfruitful and unproductive.
The Bible and its revealed truths are definite and unchanging. It is the source of everything we see today and everything that will ever exist. Understanding and accepting this fact is the first step to receiving the Word of God.
2. Listen as though no one else is there
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand." The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her
Luke 10: 38 - 42 MSG
Something noteworthy happened once when Jesus was at Lazarus' house. On this day, He was teaching, and Mary sat at his feet and listened to Him. She knew Martha was busy with kitchen work. Perhaps, Mary has seen her clear the tables and serve food to some guests. But she didn't bulge. Mary was more interested in what Jesus had to say than anything else. There might have been many guests in her home, but she was going to listen as though she was the only audience Jesus had.
Distractions are a hindrance to receiving the Word of God. Your "special" time of fellowship with the Word must never be a time to multitask. If you are in a congregation, shut out the crowd and listen to every sentence as though the preacher is speaking to you one on one.
Another pitfall in listening to the Word is making it about people. "O, Peter needs to hear this", we think to ourselves. "This is just describing Ken", we muse.
Listen to me! Forget about everyone else. At the point of listening to the Word, it is for you alone. The only thoughts on your mind should be "does this describe me", "what do I have to change", etc.
More to follow ...
* Please see the post "How Great Do You Want To Be" for more details