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18 So take care how you listen; for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him. Luke 8:18-21

When I was a kid and making a trade with one of my friends, eventually one of us would say, “take it or leave it.” This meant negotiations were now closed and a decision had to be made. Have you ever uttered that phrase? Jesus is basically making the same argument. He said once we hear the word, we become accountable for that same word. We take it or leave it. If we hear the Word and make good use of it, we shall benefit from it and the opportunity for greater knowledge and grace will follow. If we hear the Word and do not make good use of it, we will not benefit from the Word we hear and will lose some of the knowledge of God we now enjoy. Spiritually, we go backwards rather than forwards. Ouch!

In the Kingdom, if you are given a word to advance in a certain area, but neglect to do so… you don’t stay where you are, you go backwards. You, in effect, lose ground. We need to remember that losing ground to the enemy is one issue. Losing ground because of neglect or disobedience is another. Most believers are under the false assumption that God would never take away from them personally. In other words, God would never remove blessings. But according to Jesus, we can lose ground and it is not the devil’s fault, it is not the fault of others… IT IS OUR OWN FAULT.

Any military leader knows if someone under their command refuses to obey orders… that individual must be stripped of rank and re-educated on military discipline. Those in the infantry, even officers, must obey commands. If not, chaos will ensue and nothing will be accomplished.

The same is true of the Kingdom. Believers will call their missteps and neglect something other than disobedience.  But when it comes down to it, they simply didn’t obey the Lord’s command. This is why we must listen to the Lord’s word with the intent to obey. This is why Jesus says, “Be very careful how you hear.” I will rewrite a famous line from Spiderman … “With great hearing comes great responsibility.”

A doctor went to a party one night and saw one of his patients out on the dance floor with a beautiful woman. The doctor went up to his patient and asked, “What are you doing?” The patient responded, “I’m just following your advice!” “What advice?,” the doctor replied. “You told me to find a hot mama and be cheerful.” The doctor responded in disbelief, “That’s not what I said. What I said to you was that you had a heart murmur and you need to be careful.

We are not afforded the opportunity to see and hear what we want to hear and forget (or rewrite) the rest. The Lord requires us to “trust and obey… for there’s no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”