In our complete passage this week (Mark 4:21-25) you can see three stages. In the first, we learn to let our light shine an not to hide the good stuff. In the second, God’s Word teaches us that we also shouldn’t hide the ‘bad stuff’. Hiding things can become a lifestyle. If we get into that pattern we can begin to hide the truth from even ourselves. The third stage addresses that. Here it is in Verses 24-25:
24 Then he added, "Pay close attention to what you hear. The closer you listen, the more understanding you will be given—and you will receive even more. 25 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have (or think they understand) will be taken away from them.
Maybe you have been in a church service or a job training and caught yourself zoning out. For whatever reason, information was being shared but you weren’t receiving it. You were there but you didn’t get what was being given. You could check a box that said ‘attended’ but you missed the box that said ‘received’.
If you get into the pattern of hiding things you can quickly become ‘self-deceived’. You can lose the ability to discern truth from error…even in your own heart.
You can float through life without gaining much. It’s like going up to bat in the softball game but instead of really focusing in on the ball and swinging with the purpose of getting a hit you just lazily whiff it before taking your seat in the dugout. You played softball but you really didn’t ‘play softball’.
The poor listener hears words, nods his head but never really receives or does anything with the information. In spiritual terms, he/she might say “I read the book” but he doesn’t know the message or the Author. The attitude by which we receive The Word is important and ties directly to the attitude by which we give out the Word (the light).
Are you receiving all that is available to you or are you self-deceived? Is your spiritual life a ‘whiff’ right now? Jesus tells you to ‘Pay close attention’. Take a posture that helps you focus. Take a note. Go back and refer to it. Pray it through. Be honest as you evaluate yourself. Maybe you aren’t yet where you want to be in terms of spiritual growth and understanding. Keep at it. Jesus says that ‘more understanding will be given’ to those who are listening.
Keep growing! I’m praying for you!