To Obey is to Listen

Perhaps obedience isn’t merely what most of us have always been taught it is–doing what someone tells you to do. Sure, that is a quite helpful and needed aspect of it, but it’s so much more.

Obedience means literally a thorough listening.

In Latin, ob audire, “to obey,” means to listen thoroughly. The Jewish tradition says, “to bare your ear.” In fact, in many, many forms, in many, many languages, the word for obedience is an intensive form of the word listening.

Think about this for a minute. How does this deepen all those Scriptures in which obedience is emphasized or commanded? Maybe, just maybe, God’s chief concern is not that His creatures keep all the rules, but that they listen to Him thoroughly.

Isnt that of much greater depth? For it is in listening thoroughly that we honor someone. And in an intensive listening we are taking in to ourselves the other. Whenever you truly listen with all your being, there is a transformation that takes place on the soul level that simply doesn’t happen by the mere outward, thoughtless doing of what someone tells you to do. Surely God, who created the universe, is deeper than that.

I believe that a thorough listening to God, if there is any desire for Him and a teachable spirit, will automatically result in doing what He says to do anyway. Of course it will not be perfect every time, but we will continue to be perfected as His grace meets our weakness.

Do you ever take time to actually listen to God? Through His creation, His Scriptures, His people, His Son, His Spirit?

If not, why not?

Pray a Blessing~Don’t Utter a Curse

About halfway trough this 30 day fast from talking about anyone not in the room, I’ve noticed several things. First, as expected, a heightened awareness of just how much we talk about people. And with that, I have recognized how often I react to people with judgment. So much more than I want to admit.

But with this awareness came a revlelatory practice as a cleanser for the inside of my cup (Matthew 23:26). Whenever I feel the urge to talk about someone in any manner within even a thousand miles of negativity, or whenever I start to judge someone in my heart, I immediately pray a blessing over them and their day. I don’t fret over praying elegantly or with profundity, I just shoot up a simple prayer as quickly as I can from the moment the judgement surfaces.

“Lord, I pray a blessing over that guy in the red car.”

“God, please draw her closer to you today and bless her.”


Oh what this does for your heart! By refusing to verbalize (and therefore strengthen) any of the negativity, and counteracting it with a blessing, the heart begins to change toward that person. Toward all people. Your reactions become loving responses in more and more situations.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for showing me this wonderful practice of peace toward others, for You, and for the molding of me into Your likeness.

Blessed, and sometimes painful, theosis!