Hear (attentive) Understand (absorb)

Even though I passed these verses days ago in my reading, the Holy Spirit kept taking me back to them. God’s word is a seed. In the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:19, Jesus gave great insight for us. It says, “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart.”

Have you ever heard a message and thought it was really good? Then you promptly forgot it. We heard it, but did not absorb it, so that we could apply it to our own life. Here is another part of hearing and understanding. Matthew 15:8 says, “These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.”

We hear with our ears, but we absorb with our heart. Think now of the disciples. Jesus had just fed the 5,000. Then He told them to get into the boat. Matthew 14:24 says, “But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, tossed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.”

Picture yourself in a boat being tossed by the waves because of a strong wind. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water. He was walking with no regard for the waves and the wind. They cried out in fear and He calmed them with His words.

In verse 28 Peter asked the Lord to command him to, “…come to You on the water.” Remember that nothing had changed as far as the waves and the wind. When Peter heard the Lord (verse 29) say, “…Come…” Peter climbed down out of the boat and walked on the water. Is that amazing or what!

Verse 30 says, “But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, Lord save me!” Wait. What happened? The waves and the wind were still there when he started walking to Jesus.

Here is what Jesus said to Peter, “…O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Has the Lord ever told you to do something and you started out well? Then your mind was assailed with fear, doubt, and unbelief. You were stopped in your tracks. No more forward movement.

When Peter took his eyes off the Lord, he began to fear because all he saw was the boisterous wind. How like us. Don’t look at your circumstances. Remember that satan will do anything he can to get us to veer off the path of righteousness.

Do you remember what Philip said to the Ethiopian eunuch? The Lord sent him quickly to overtake the chariot. He heard what the eunuch was reading. Acts 8:30 says, “So Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, Do you understand what you are reading?”

The eunuch replied in verse 31, “…How can I, unless someone guides me?…” Romans 10:14 says, “How then shall they call on Him to whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”

We are all called to evangelize. My take away from my reading is this. Unless I clearly explain the gospel, the enemy will snatch away what I say. The person might hear what I say, meaning that the seed fell on their ears. Yet, did it get absorbed into their heart?

We are the messenger. It is up to the Holy Spirit to bring the conviction of sin for salvation. However, we need to be sure that we are fulfilling our part. Does what I say match my lifestyle? Do I speak life-giving words that are backed by character that exemplifies the Lord?

Peter addressed the Sanhedrin with boldness. He declared to them the way of salvation. Acts 4:12 says, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” Verse 13 says, “…they realized that they had been with Jesus.” What a commendation!

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