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“Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

– Matthew 11:28

Sometimes we have selective hearing. We pick and choose what we hear, and subsequently obey, based on our circumstances. From this point, this devotional could go a bunch of different ways but today I want to ask you to consider the tension between hearing and doing, and hearing and waiting – the issue of timing.

It seems to be a common human desire to exert control over our circumstances. If we see a problem, we may try to fix it, or try to run from it. Following the path of obedience to the Holy Spirit means that we must face down both these impulses, so we are sure that we have given space to the timing of the Holy Spirit and the Lordship of Jesus.

The new church of Antioch was having a good run. Momentum was building as the disciples reached out with the gospel of Jesus. The church was growing, it would be understandable to get caught up in the busyness, but before acting the believers worshipped and listened together, then this happens: “So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them (Saul and Barnabas) and sent them off.” (Acts 13:3) In this case the listening led to doing. Doing was the obedient action.

Waiting is often harder than doing. Consider another account from Paul’s life. He is a prisoner and has been on a boat, caught in a storm for fourteen nights. The crew are physically and mentally exhausted. Hope is gone and some think escaping the boat is the best plan, but God speaks, and Paul explains to the crew, “Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved.” (Acts 27:31) More hopelessness. More helplessness. Eventually, the ship runs aground and is destroyed, but no-one dies. Waiting was the obedient action.

Whichever is your default, either action or waiting, consider how you welcome Jesus to interact with your circumstances and decisions. Know that Jesus’ Lordship is not oppressive, but he wants you to have “life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)

Consider how you can listen to Jesus’ leading, even in the mundane and routine parts of your life.

Jesus, I want you to be Lord of my life. Please help me to hear you above the pressure of my circumstances. Help me to act when you say act and to wait when you say wait. Thank you for giving me your wisdom generously.

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About the author

Profile photo for John Hall

In 1997 John Hall, his wife Wei, and brother in-law started Eco Outdoor Sports in Metro Vancouver. In 2003 the business was sold, and his family entered a seven-year ‘desert experience’. During that time the Lord impressed on John and his family the importance of hearing and obeying Jesus every day, something that he tries to integrate into everything he does. In 2010 God changed the family’s direction and led him to finish his degree at Regent College in preparation for life as a full-time missionary overseas. That ministry opportunity didn’t develop as planned, as a whole new perspective and participation-in Christ’s mission was born at Missions Fest Vancouver. It’s now a daily occurrence for John’s business background and theological training to get a workout.

John served as the Executive Director at Mission Central (formerly Missions Fest Vancouver) from 2014 to April 2023.

John and Wei live in Richmond, BC. They have two wonderful adult girls. John completed his MA at Regent College in 2010.

The Tapestry Church (Richmond, BC)

Series: Hearing and Obeying—Devotionals

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Count the Cost

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Love Your Enemies

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Idols and Mighty Deeds

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