One of my favorite move quotes of all time comes from “White Men Can’t Jump.” Wesley Snipes’s character looked at Woody Harrelson’s character and said:
“Look man, You can listen to Jimi but you can’t hear Jimi. There’s a difference man. Just because your listening to him doesn’t mean you’re hearing him.”
Wesley Snipe’s character was making the point that there was a difference between listening to Jimi Hendrix’s music and hearing it in such a way that we become one with it. In a sense, he was saying when we hear the music we are taking it in at a deeper level so it goes into the core of who we become one with it.
There is a ton of spiritual application in this quote. For example, I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve listened to other ministers preach and heard the words coming out of their mouth and even agreed with them, but I wasn’t really HEARING. I can’t tell you the number of times over the years I’ve read the Bible and could even tell you what I read, but I didn’t really HEAR what God was saying. Do you know how I know I wasn’t HEARING HIM? Change didn’t happen afterwards.
God isn’t just communicating words to us so we get information. He is communicating with us to bring transformation! We live in the information age and people know more scriptures than ever, but many Christians aren’t experiencing the personal transformation that comes from HEARING HIM.
Check out Ezekiel 3:
Ezekiel 3:1-3, 10 Moreover He said to me, “Son of man, eat what you find; eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” 2 So I opened my mouth, and He caused me to eat that scroll. 3 And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.
10 Moreover He said to me: “Son of man, receive into your heart all My words that I speak to you, and hear with your ears.
In the passages from Ezekiel above, God is speaking to Ezekiel and tells him to eat the scroll. When we eat something we become one with it and begin to assimilate it throughout our body. God wants us to eat his words like food and begin to assimilate it throughout our body. He wants us to literally taste the sweetness of his word (verse 3).
Then in verse 10, he says for Ezekiel to receive his words into his heart. He didn’t just say listen to my words and even be able to regurgitate them back to me. He wanted them to be received or taken the same way a person receives a present. Take it, value it, open it, and get the maximum use out of it. God wanted His word to transform Ezekiel. It was only after this happened, that Ezekiel would be fit for the assignment God was calling him to.
The key to being able to HEAR HIM and experience personal transformation is to sell out to God’s word. We have to become one with His word so its nourishment can assimilate throughout our being and transform our lives. This means we make a total commitment to read it and do it while asking the Holy Spirit to strengthen us to obey. If we are to become one with His word, we can’t change His word to fit what we believe, but we change what we believe to fit His word and then His word transforms our lives.
I believe the Lord wants to take us into a deep encounter with Him that goes beyond a mental agreement with biblical principles. He wants to take us into a deep experience that produces change. We need to receive Him with everything we have and let Him become one with us throughout all of our being: spirit, soul, and body! That produces change!
To learn more about how the word of God produces personal transformation, check out this recent message I taught at Grace Life Church.