Ears to Hear

Mark 4:9 (NLT) 9 Then he said, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

This statement from Jesus closes many of his parables. What does Jesus mean? Well, it’s not physical ears or the physical ability to hear. The phrase “ears to hear” is a figure of speech. Anyone who has a heart willing to receive. That “ears to hear” means a heart that’s willing to receive what God has to say. Ready and anxious to hear from God and receive God’s Word. That’s having “ears to hear.” It’s really a heart willing to receive.

So, Jesus is saying anyone who truly desires to receive the spiritual truth of this parable – listen and understand. Listen and understand. If you have a desire to receive the deep truth of this parable – focus – focus on it. Listen and understand.

And what this does is cause us, right now, to decide whether we have a heart to receive or a heart to reject. So, either we say, “Okay. Right now, I want to hear what this parable is saying. I want to hear what the Lord is saying to me about my own heart by His Living Word and through his Spirit. I’m ready to receive it.”

 OR, “Pffftt! Are you kidding me? Man, I heard Greg Laurie teach that when he still had hair! I’ve been hearing that parable for so long that I can’t learn anything from it.”

Listen. This is critical. No matter how long you’ve been around, you can, right now, reject what God wants to speak to you in his Word. Or, you can say, “Okay, Lord. I’m ready. I have a heart to receive what you want to say to me today – right now.” Do you get it? That’s “ears to hear.”

We’ve got to understand. John 16:13 says 13 . . .the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth. . . But here is a truth (some doctrines would debate me on this). The Holy Spirit won’t force you into truth. The Holy Spirit won’t force you into truth. But here’s the deal. The moment – where we exist in the time continuum – the moment that you have a heart that’s ready to receive, the Holy Spirit will pour out the power to receive the gift of faith. Your faith was a gift from God, Ephesians 2:8-9 says. But it’s when you believed that you were given this faith.

And so, everybody says, “Which comes first, the gift of faith from God or us choosing to believe?” The question is wrong because God lives outside of time. There’s no time continuum where God exists. So, where God exists, one didn’t come before the other. Which means you and I have a responsibility to have a heart to receive from God before he gives us the power to understand and to receive the truths of his Word.

Here’s the truth. Have a heart to receive, and God will reveal to you. Have a hard heart that rejects, and you’ll say, “I didn’t get any of that.” The minute you set your heart to receive the truths of God, he’ll give them to you. And if you choose to be hardened to them, he’ll let your heart be hardened.

Follow along in your journal with us. If you don’t have an Alone With God journal, you can order one at wordbymail.com.

Journal: Today’s verse says, . . . “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Now that you’ve meditated on this verse and given it some thought, take a minute and go through the Apply section. What truth is the Holy Spirit speaking to you today? How does this verse apply to your life today in a real and personal way? Write this down in the area provided. Then, move on to the Response section. How will you respond after considering the truth the Spirit has put on your heart today? What action will you take? Write down your response. Then, close your alone time with God by writing your prayer to him in the Pray section. (You can even pray something like the following prayer.)

Prayer: Lord, help me to have ears to hear. Give me a heart to understand what you have to say to me. Your Word, God, is Living and powerful, and there is always something you want me to hear from you if I will listen. I open my heart to you. By your Spirit, Lord, help me today. For your glory, Jesus, and in your name, amen.

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