by Santosh Poonen
If I’d asked which part of you wakes up last, we’d all probably say our brain – at least it probably feels like that on many days. But, as far as which part of our body wakes up first, I’m not sure that there’s a proven medical answer.
I’ll tell you God’s answer, however, and He says it quite clearly…
“He awakens me morning by morning; He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord God has opened My ear…” (Isaiah 50:4-5).
I find it fascinating that God wants our ear to be open first! For many, the eyes are the first to awaken. For others it’s the stomach. Soulish folk will probably pick the mind or the heart. But the ear?! And yet, as God states clearly, this is the distinctive mark of a disciple. This prophecy by Isaiah was regarding Christ first, but ought to likewise be true of anyone who calls himself a “Christ-ian.” In other words, if you’re a disciple, before any other part of you can function usefully on a given day, God has to open your ear to listen as a disciple.
When I think about listening “as a disciple” the picture that comes to my mind is of a student sitting on the floor, eyes fixed on the teacher, absorbing every word that’s spoken. I picture Mary the sister of Martha doing just that, as told in the story toward the end of Luke 10. Jesus commended Mary for choosing the one thing which was necessary, and promised that what she gained by doing so would never be taken away from her.
It’s also interesting that God gave us one tongue and two ears. Perhaps this is to demonstrate the principle He teaches us in James 1:19 – “Be quick to hear, slow to speak.” So, if you have 10 minutes of stuff to say, allow for 20 more to listen – whether in conversation with others, or in your prayers to God. And God, knowing our frailty, made it mercifully easy to listen – it takes lots of energy to speak, but almost none to listen!
An amazing thing happens, however, when God awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. He can then give me the tongue of a disciple, so that I will know exactly what to say to the weary (Isaiah 50:4a). And you don’t have to look very far to find the weary. They’re all around us – beginning with our family at home, and those at work or school, in the grocery store, on the roads or on an airplane. Yeah, and perhaps even on Facebook!
The ear has another important function besides hearing. Our ears give the body balance, a sense of equilibrium. And the same is true spiritually. The person whose ear is always awakened to listen as a disciple is the one who will never go astray. For, as God promises earlier, when your feet start to wander to the right or to the left, your ear will hear a word behind you saying, “Go this way” (Isaiah 30:21). This is the secret to knowing and doing God’s Will in every circumstance in life, whether big or small.
So, the next time your alarm goes off at o-dark-thirty, even before you swing your arm over to hit the snooze button, pause for a moment and let your Heavenly Father awaken your ear. And amid the clamor in your mind about what needs to be done that day, amid the dark clouds of fear and uncertainty of what’s ahead, amid the storm of care over something or someone in your life, hear His still small voice… urging you to toss your care on His back, and whispering His love into your ear, “Come this way with Me today!”
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