They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: “The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your forefathers when he said through Isaiah the prophet: ” ‘Go to this people and say, “You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.”‘ “
A few years ago I took golf lessons. The instructor told me in order to make the necessary swing changes to improve my game: I would need to play less actual golf, practice more, slow my swing down (to allow the changes to take hold), and generally focus on what needed to be corrected. With the appropriate amount of effort, practice, and time, my reward would be a significantly improved swing and golf game. I heard what he said and I saw what was wrong with my swing. So I went to work. I practiced in front of the mirror, with a video camera recording, and at the driving range. Change was slow and difficult. Then one day the light went on and I understood — I perceived — through my mind’s eye what the golf swing was supposed to look and feel like.
I wanted to apply a sports analogy to our passage today because so many of us can relate to how practice (the right kind) pays off in improved physical performance. So why don’t we apply this in our spiritual lives? We listen to our pastor on Sunday mornings, perhaps even discuss some of the finer points of the sermon over lunch with friends, but by Monday we’re back to our same old habits. By Tuesday most of us would be hard pressed to remember even one of the sermon points. How can we expect permanent change to take hold if we don’t practice what was preached? An “understanding” of what we’ve heard, and “perceiving” what we’ve seen, only comes from focus, repetition and application. Otherwise the information comes in (hearing and seeing), and goes out, but doesn’t have any lasting effect upon us or our lives.
Do you remember any of the points from last Sunday’s sermon? What was the Lord communicating to you personally through the pastor’s words? Write it down. What scripture verses were referenced? Write those down as well. This week, read your scripture verses and meditate on those sermon points as soon as you get up each morning. Change will come slowly at first then more rapidly as the Lord heals you.