“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
How many of us have been asked to do a task or chore by our spouses or by our parents and then would completely forget all about it until later reminded when asked “Why haven’t you done what I asked?” And there always seems to be some sort of flack immediately following that question. Often times questions like “Were you listening to me?” or even “Do I need to turn that television off?” are thrown into the mix. We always do apologize and do say that we did hear them, but is that all we do? Do we only hear and not really listen?
According to Strong’s Concordance, “listen” in verse 22 does relate to just hearing. Now go back a few verses to verse 19—“quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”—the Greek word for “listen” means to hear with the connotation of paying attention, understanding and obeying. The same English word is used yet it has two differing meanings.
Maybe the television has been around a lot longer than we realized. We are not to just hear and then forget; we need to live out what we are taught. Life can be a pretty big television sitting in front of us, distracting us from what God tries to tell us. What is the Christian life if not being lived out? Christianity is different; it is transforming. It calls people to step out of the world and into Grace. God pulls at our heart strings for a reason. We are to be compelled to act on His words, to do something. Are we going to be the lukewarm water (Rev. 3:16) by just merely hearing the word and not doing anything to live it out? That ending is not pretty. Maybe it’s time to put down the remote.