“Listen to me, all of you, and understand” (v. 14). That’s what Jesus says. Listen to me. Say those words aloud, and imagine Jesus saying them to you. Listen to me. Say them each time your brain tells you it’s time to check your email/Facebook/Twitter feed again because you deserve a break. After all, thirty seconds can be a long time to go without rewarding your brain.
Say the words each time your phone purrs, roars, or rings, and whenever your desktop notification dings. Better yet, turn all those devices off, get away for a while, and say these words of the living Christ: Listen to me.
Sure, nothing outside a person can defile them by going in. There’s nothing inherently wrong with our technology’s omnipresence and, at times, seeming omniscience. But why is it that the things coming out of us lately are so defiling? Here’s a brief list: mean-spirited social media rants, friendship-ending comments, the angry emoji. All of that defiles us. I’m sure you’ve got your list, too.
Listen to me, Jesus says. Keeping our focus on external things leads to a superficial life. Ignoring our relationship with God to focus on “the rules” deadens our spirits. But the more we listen to Jesus, the less we’ll care about what distracts us from him.
The more Jesus abides in us, the harder it is for defiling things to pour out of our mouths, our keystrokes, our text messages. What we spend time with, day in and day out, forms us. These external things are not inherently bad, but the degree to which we let them guide us is a measure of our spiritual health. What better guides do we need? What beauty or wisdom could we reach for instead of our phones. Listen to the one for whom your innermost heart longs. Wake up to new life.
Spend thirty minutes today in a quiet space listening for Jesus’ word for you.
God, we long to be your listeners. Grant us quiet minds, patience, and space so that we can be open to your will. Amen.