Will you neglect or respond?

Will you neglect or respond?

Feb 22, 2013

Will you neglect or respond?

By Katrina Goodrich

Womens Girl pouting

Not long ago, I was working with a child who—for whatever reason—had chosen to be quite obstinate. I know she wanted to perform an activity but it could only be done with my help. Every time I tried to assist her she balked and refused to cooperate. It seemed silly for her to resist.

Realizing that I could not force her to let me help, I resigned to asking her every few minutes if she was ready to accept my support and reminded her that we only had so much time to get it done. After that, she would be out of luck.

I also reminded her that actions had consequences, and she probably wouldn’t be too fond of the ones that would result from her refusal to work with me. Despite all of this she still refused to cooperate.

Time was up, so I moved on. She did not. She began to pitch quite a fit, stunning everyone in the vicinity. Even though I had warned her and explained what the outcome of her actions would be, she did not believe what I had told her. I laid out everything to her and she heard me, but she still would not comply.

This seemed like so much foolishness to me. She had what she wanted within her grasp; all she needed to do was allow me to help and follow the rules. Yet, as ridiculous as her actions appeared to me, I find myself making the same basic mistake with even greater consequences.

In Revelation 3:20 Jesus tells us that he is standing at the door knocking. If we hear and respond, letting him in, he will abide with us and we with him. According to this verse there are two things we need to do: hear and answer.

Hearing him may be difficult. At any given time it seems like there are a million things to do. Chores, work, family responsibilities, and all of them seem to scream louder than Jesus does. However, I can’t use this as an excuse. If I would just stop, look, quiet myself, and listen it wouldn’t be a problem to hear him. But I don’t want to.

Sometimes the most difficult thing is to respond. Willfully neglecting to listen is the same as listening and then walking away. For whatever reason—just like the little girl I was trying to help—I refuse to listen to Jesus and act favorably on his instructions, knowing that the consequences could be disastrous. Silly, right?

Jesus is not going to force us to do what he wants. He allows us to choose our response to him and he even gives us all the facts in his Word. It’s like he says, If you want eternal life, let me change you and abide with you, follow me; hear the knock, answer the door. Choose to leave it and you will die.

Really it seems like such a simple choice; common sense. “Of course, I don’t want to die.” But how many times do we ignore him and let him continue to knock indefinitely, waiting for us while we go and do what we want? How many times are we so busy and rushed that we throw open the door and run him over, completely missing the fact that he was even there? How many times do we willfully neglect him, and do the opposite of what he wants?

The first rule of getting better is to acknowledge you have a problem. I have a problem. Next step: stop IGNORING God. Get up and make an effort to listen to what He says.

There’s an easy way to find out what He’s saying. It’s in the Bible. Reading the Bible and praying every day—for even 20 minutes—is a great way to listen. After all, God wrote what He wants you to know in there. Take a verse or a chapter a day, read it and pray about the words you read. What a great way to listen!

All that’s left is putting it to practice. It’s not necessarily the easy part but if your attitude is listening to God your actions will follow.

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