God is speaking. The question we must ask ourselves is, "Are we hearing?" You see, in the scripture time and again God spoke a specific word, for a specific season, to a specific people. In the Old Testament God spoke to the children of Israel. In the New Testament, in the book of Revelation, Jesus spoke to the seven churches.
Often, throughout the Bible, God would speak to a single person who received His word individually so they in turn could speak to a corporate body of people. In every instance, the underlying theme for the success and the fulfillment of that word rested in the ability of the person, or group of people that received it, to hear what was said.
The Amplified Bible says in Mark 4:23-25, "If any man has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him perceive and comprehend. 24) And He said to them, Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you - and more [besides] will be given to you who hear. 25) For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away [by force]."
Jesus qualifies His statements to those who have ears to hear. Just because a person anatomically has two ears doesn't necessarily mean they can hear what God is saying. Jesus is talking about a person who has developed the sense and inner ability to recognize God's voice. Jesus said, "Let him hear!" This describes a person who has disciplined and positioned themselves to receive from God. A believing believer is a hearing believer! I can prove that. The Bible says in Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
The potential that your faith manifests is directly related to the degree of what you have heard God speak. Hearing brings knowledge. Knowledge gives direction to faith. The Bible says in Romans 10:14-16, ""How then shall they call on Him in 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? 15) And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16) But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? KJV
In other words, how can a person believe for salvation if they have not heard about salvation? How can a person believe for God to heal them if they do not know it's God's will they be healed? A person can not believe for something they have no knowledge about.
After a person hears the word, they have to choose whether to believe it and receive it, or disregard it. Whatever the choice, it is directly connected to their ability to hear. When God speaks to you, it always comes with a divine expectation. Therefore, what God expects from you will be in direct proportion to what He has said to you. Your faith has the potential to manifest to the fullest extent the things God has spoken to you. The degree of faith that you operate in will be in direct proportion to the measure of what you have heard. Let's look at the four "L's" of hearing: 1) Listening, 2) Learning, 3) Leaning, and 4) Living.
If a person has ears to hear, that means they are listening. To listen means to make a conscious effort to hear. It means to be attentive. This isn't like when we're driving down the road, we have our minds on something while our wives are talking to us, and we shake our heads like we hear what they are saying, only we haven't heard a word. Do you know what that does? You guessed it. It gets us into trouble. That's what happens when we don't listen to God. We get into trouble!
Having a hearing ear means we have developed a listening ear. We have and are making a conscious effort to hear what God is saying to us. It's where we arrest distractions impairing our hearing. To be attentive means we have made hearing a priority. Therefore, we consciously, by choice, shut out mind chatter. This is where you are thinking about everything else except what you should be hearing. We shut out all distractions environmentally and circumstantially. We focus on what is being said so we can obtain the full meaning and impact of what we are hearing.
When this happens something dynamic occurs in our spiritual life. In Mark 4:23 of the Amplified Bible it reads, "Let him be listening, let him perceive and comprehend." This describes the additional benefits of hearing.
Paul said in Ephesians 1:18, "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of his calling..." The eyes of our understanding is our imagination. As we hear what God is saying, our mind is quickened and we receive a picture in our imagination of what God is saying. Jesus said the Holy Ghost would take what is His, and show it to us, and show us things to come.
It has been said the language of the Holy Spirit is dreams and visions. When the Holy Ghost speaks, where do we see what He says? If I say a red apple is attached to a branch of an apple tree full of red apples with several green leaves, whose veins can be seen throughout the leaves, what do you see? Unless you are color blind, some of you see a red apple in your imagination. Some of you may see the branch. Others may see the red apple attached to a branch with green leaves. Others may see the whole picture.
The point is, the depth of your perception is linked to what you have allowed yourself to hear. This in turn affects our comprehension.
Another term for comprehension is understanding. Why does God speak to us? Why does He reveal things to us? To bring us into understanding. Understanding is the comprehension of knowledge received. Understanding carries with it wisdom. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge. The Bible says in Ecclesiastes 10:10, "Wisdom is profitable to direct." Let's put this all together.
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 10:17, "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God." As God speaks, you hear. As you hear, you gain knowledge which becomes the focal point of your faith. As you listen attentively, you gain understanding of what God desires to do. Through understanding you get the wisdom of how to apply your faith. If you have knowledge without understanding, you will not know how to direct your faith.
Since faith is believing in what God has said, your level of faith will not exceed your level of understanding. That's why hearing is so important. Your faith, your degree of obedience, your spiritual maturity, and how you receive from God is dependant upon you developing a hearing ear. This brings us to the second "L" of hearing which is learning.
Learning is the ability to acquire knowledge and skill. If we are going to succeed in our spiritual walk with God, we must allow what we hear to teach us. A good student is someone who has applied themselves to learning. In Psalms 32:8, God said He would instruct us and teach us in the way that we should go; and guide us with His eye. God will communicate His expectations. We must commit to learning them and condition ourselves to hear clearly. As a result, we will find ourselves developing skills that will help us to work the word in our lives. As we learn, we must lean.
The Bible says in Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." When God speaks to us, His understanding will direct our life. If we do not listen to God when He speaks, we will try to do God's thing our way through our own devices.
Leaning, the third "L" of hearing is the proof of hearing. This is where we totally rely on Him to work in our lives and perform His word. Leaning on Him keeps our personal arrogance in check.
The fourth "L" of hearing is living. Our living manifests the degree of what we have heard. Becoming a doer of the Word is to be, "A Hearing Believer!"