I had a dream the other week that I was part of a medical experiment. A technician would insert drops in my ears, attaching IVs to each one so the solution could continuously flow into each ear. As soon as enough of the solution was in my system, my heartbeat changed dramatically. It began pounding and slowing down at the same time. Instead of beating in a regular rhythm, my heartbeat BOOMED. The beats were quite spaced apart, but each boom was so strong that I felt physical pain.
Immediately I was reminded of Proverbs 4:23:
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.Proverbs 4:23 NIV
I’ve done an entire blog post on this verse before, but my dream reminded me how important it is to specifically watch what you allow to enter your ears.
The Gospels (and the Book of Revelation) repeat this phrase several times: “Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
Whoever has ears, let them hear.Matthew 13:9 NIV
Hearing is a gift from God. It is unwise, of course, to “close” your ears and tune out everything you hear. You definitely want to be tuned in to the voice of God! Proverbs 23:12 says, “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”
You don’t want to be deaf to words of knowledge and wisdom, but it’s so important to carefully guard what you allow yourself to hear.
There are the obvious things, like curse words, lewd comments, and trashy shows. So often, though, I think we disregard what we consider to be “lesser evils.” We normalize the phrases the people around us use, even if we know their words are negative or critical. We convince ourselves our Spotify playlists have no effect on us, even though some of the lyrics are questionable. Songs don’t have to be explicit to take a toll on your soul. They’re either building you up or tearing you down…so which is it?
There is no neutral territory in the spirit world. Either the messages we hear are from the Holy Spirit, or they are sent by an enemy intending to kill, steal, and destroy. This isn’t something to be afraid of; it’s simply something to be aware of so that it can be dealt with.
I know there are plenty of things I let into my ears that I shouldn’t. News broadcasts that leave me feeling fearful and hopeless. Catchy songs that don’t exactly preach Biblical themes. Negative voices that speak against the things God has spoken.
What we hear affects our hearts. We can deny it or ignore it, but eventually what we’ve allowed into our ear gates will catch up with us. We can cause ourselves unnecessary pain if we don’t filter out the wrong messages and feed our hearts with the right truths.
What are you allowing to enter your ears? Is it true, noble, right, and pure? I know not everything I’ve allowed myself to hear meets those standards, but those are the things I should be intentionally feeding my soul with.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Philippians 4:8 NIV
Let my dream be a reminder to all of us that our hearing affects our hearts, and may each heart be filled with truth.