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The More You See, The More You See



That stone in the field you just walked past—did you notice it?


Look closer.


Smoothly edged, or perhaps slightly fuzzy? Dipping slightly towards one corner. Could that possibly be the barest outline of a head? Maybe ears laid flat along the topmost edge?


Was that a twitch?


Let me just risk a short, careful step towards it . . . aah! It’s off. Boy, can that stone move.


I knew it. That stone’s a hare!


LOVE THE HARES


In the last few years, I have fallen in love with these astonishing creatures. Apparently, hare numbers in the U.K. have fallen by eighty percent over the last hundred years, and are still declining rapidly. However, I’ve seen far more on my walks than ever before.


Living in Reading helps.


Yes, you did read that correctly.


Sandwiched as it is between extensive downland areas to the west and the gentle slopes of the Chilterns to the north-east, I’m within easy reach of decent hare-country, especially at this time of year. Last Friday, for instance, I came upon a field where I counted at least fifteen. It may have been more, but I wouldn’t want to inflate my figures with suspicious-looking stones. Two were boxing; others were grazing calmly; some sensed me and flowed away across the field. Watching them run evokes both awe and worship from deep within my soul; their Maker has done an amazing job.


Here’s the thing. Having seen one or two, I have started to look. Really look. When out on the downlands, my eyes are constantly scanning. I’m certainly no expert, but I can now discern with more accuracy which stones might actually be hares. I’m getting better at knowing where to look and what to look for. Consequently, I spot them far more often than I used to, and when I do, it’s glorious.


The more I see, the more I see.


PROMPT AND RESPONSE


Some of the believers I admire most are those who seem to be constantly hearing directly from the Lord. Often what they hear relates directly to their lives. A verse leaps out at them as they read their Bibles. When listening to a preacher, they hear from the Lord when many of us might dismiss the sermon as unremarkable. Sometimes, God speaks to them through their reading, or they hear from him simply by observing the world around them. Their lives are a constant, dynamic cycle of prompt and response.


It strikes me that this is rather like those hares. The more you see, the more you see. As believers, we all have the Holy Spirit within us. He is active in so many ways, revealing the Lord to us, and working in us to elicit a response. In the Scriptures, we see examples of people being led by the Spirit—Simeon in Luke 2.27; Paul in Acts 20.22, and of course, Jesus himself in Matthew 4.1. The apostle Paul tells us that ‘those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God’ (Rom 8.14). He exhorts his readers to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (Gal 5.25), having told us a few verses earlier that if we’re led by the Spirit we are not under the law (5.18).


Why are some believers more aware of this than others?


FIRST RESPONDERS


Firstly, because when they sense the Spirit prompting them, they respond. That sounds obvious, but this truth can also highlight a common failing among us. As I think of my own spiritual life, I carry regret for all the times the Lord has prompted me when I have not responded. Sometimes it’s because I didn’t like what he was saying and I’ve flat-out refused. There have been plenty of times when I should have been quicker to repent, quicker to mend a strained relationship, quicker to apologise. That’s true. But probably more often, it has been a prompt to reach out to someone, to speak or get in touch. In truth, I have hesitated, not quite sure what I want to say, and my hesitation has resulted in delay. Which has turned into failure to act. After a while the prompting dies down, and I move on.


The opportunity has become a lost opportunity. Or so it seems.


But I don’t want to leave you pondering my regrets. I want to encourage you.


THE MORE WE LEARN, THE MORE WE LEARN


I truly believe that the more we respond, the more the Lord will show us. The more he shows us, the more our ears become attuned to his voice. We hear the prompts more clearly. Just like my eyes scanning the downlands, or taking a moment to stare more intensely at a particular stone, we’ll start learning where to look. And what to look for. Our spirits will become more sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit.


Of course, this comes in the context of a steady diet of God’s word and a life bathed in prayer. Without these habits, we are far more likely to be led astray by promptings from other places. The apostle John urges his readers to ‘test the spirits’ and we should be mindful of this advice. But with that admonition in mind, we should open ourselves to God’s voice.


He speaks to us in all kinds of ways and from all sorts of places.


After all, like those wonderful hares running through God’s good creation, the Spirit may seem elusive, but he is most definitely active in this world and in our hearts—moving, flowing, stirring up, smoothing down. Sometimes he is almost teasing us with a brief glimpse.


Was that the Spirit? Will we look more intensely or just move on with a shrug?


So here’s my challenge.


How much do you really want to see? How willing are you to respond?


For myself, I am asking the Lord to make me more alive to the leading of his Spirit. I want to be more excited about hearing his voice than I am about . . . well, seeing hares. And I love seeing hares! I also want to learn where to look and listen, and grow in my understanding of what it means to hear from my God, who loves me and guides me.


I hope you’ll join me. I hope that, like me, you too will develop an earnest desire to respond. Without delay. If that means taking difficult steps, be assured that the God you serve is trustworthy. He will be with you as you respond obediently to his voice.


I’m also convinced that as you learn and grow . . . the more you see, the more you’ll see.

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