Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Phillip?”

John 14: 9a

 

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone, especially someone that you are close to and realized that you don’t actually know what they are saying? The words are clear, the discussion doesn’t revolve around obscure concepts or, for me, principles of physics, but the meaning of it all is just not getting through. In the passage that surrounds the verse above, Jesus is trying to explain the basic facts of the events that are about to happen; He has been both clear and repetitive in these explanations; yet, his close friends just don’t understand. They have a very real problem with listening. They hear the words with their ears but not with their hearts; and they allow their minds to interpret what Jesus says in the manner that they desire to understand it.

 

I have much the same problem. I hear what the Lord has to say to me, and He speaks in many ways every day. I read the bible and He talks to me. I pray and He grants me knowledge and insight, and I talk to other Christians and get sound feedback. Still, Christ’s actual will can be vague and obscure to me. I think that, like Phillip, I have a problem with my listening skills. I work really hard at seeking the Lord’s voice; yet, I also work very hard at keeping the filters of my own understanding and my own desired outcomes in place.

 

Jesus tells us to listen to His words and to stay open in our hearts and in our minds to what He is actually saying. This is much more an act of faith than it is of will; for, we need to trust Jesus enough to let Him speak to us in a very deep way.  The key to this sort of deep listening seems to be in found in faith. It is necessary to truly believe that Christ has all of the answers that we will need for every situation that we will encounter so that we can set aside the well developed, human reason based filters and responses that a life time of living has built up in us. Then as we have opened the ears of our hearts and minds to truly hear Christ’s will, faith in Christ will lead us to act on what He tells us.