“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” Luke 11:28 (NIV)
Hearing is hard. Distractions abound in the modern world. Gadgets that connect a wired world interrupt the quiet we should seek for our souls. Before we can obey what God demands, first we must hear Him.
God is always talking. When the sun rises God speaks to all mankind and says, “I created this without you.” When lightning splits the sky and thunder explodes soon after, God exclaims, “I am Great and Mighty. You are small.” When a baby joins this world and its new parents gaze upon the miraculous, God whispers, “I am Life.” In things big and small, God tells every soul, “I am the Lord Almighty. Serve me.”
Sadly, we seldom listen. When we meet a stranger and introduce ourselves, we routinely focus on saying our name and fail to hear and remember the stranger’s name. The result is two strangers saying their names and expecting the other to do the unreciprocated hard work of truly listening. Likewise, the hidden narrative in our heads seldom stops and allows God to speak into a quiet place we’ve created. “When you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”
In the quiet, when He speaks, what then? Hearing without obeying is dangerous business. “I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you that it may go well with you. But they did not pay attention; instead they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.”
God clearly says we are capable of obeying Him. But no one’s perfect, right? Well, not exactly. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” How can we possibly do this? I’m glad you asked. “But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete (perfect) in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”
How then do we walk as Jesus did? John answers like this: “…If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete (perfect) in us.”
First we must hear God and then we must obey Him. When we do both, we will find ourselves loving those we once deemed unworthy of our affections.
 Psalm 4:4 (NIV)
 Jeremiah 7:23-24 (NIV)
 Matthew 5:48 (NIV)
 I John 2:5-6 (NIV)
 I John 4:12b (NIV)