“Pay attention to what you hear,” says Jesus in Mark 4:24. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, and my reflections tell me that one reason many people find Christianity irrelevant is because they’re not paying attention to what they hear. Think about it. All day long our ears are assaulted with words. Studies show that we spend an excessive amount of time in front of TVs and monitors. We walk or jog with buds in our ears. We talk with people. And then there are the e-mails, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, all the words that we let into our unguarded souls. Some of the words in you are, I hope, God’s words but the majority of words assaulting you are not. No wonder many of us are strangers to solitude and silence, thinking there’s something unnatural about it.
Exposing ourselves to so many words puts us in a position of judgment. “I will decide what’s good and what’s not, what to do and what not to do.” That, friend, is idolatry. Lee Kwan Yew wasn’t writing about religion but wrote truly, “We can ill afford to let others experiment with our lives.” (Wall Street Journal, April 6-7, 2013; A13)
A Christianity that is relevant to daily life starts with a faith assumption: The Word of God in Jesus Christ is the story of my personal life. If you take that as your starting point, then you’re going to filter what you hear. You break the habit of watching this or hearing that. You use media with discernment. You pick your peers carefully. You decrease the barrage of words and visual images and increase your time in silence with the Bible. In short, you “pay attention to what you hear.” “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”