I have had a hearing issue most of my life. It all started when I had a hunting accident with my Dad at the age of 11 or 12. The older I got the more difficult it became to hear what was being said.

I really didn’t know that I had a real hearing problem until I got married. My wife Cindy would come from another room in the house and asked me if I were ignoring her. I would explain that I simply didn’t hear her calling for me.

The best marriage counseling I ever received was at a mall in Texas. We were at a Sears store, and they had a sign that said, “Free hearing test.” Cindy said, “Come on, you’re going to take that test.” I had never prayed to fail a test before, but for the sake of our marriage I prayed, “Dear God, if I haven’t lost some hearing, please take it now in order to save my marriage.”

Well, clearly I had lost a lot of my ability to hear. I would often only hear part of the sentence or not understand what was being said at all. I covered the issue up the best I could by adjusting my head in order to put my better ear toward the speaker or by attempting to read lips.

Pure and simple, vanity and pride kept me from getting hearing aids for years. However, this all changed several weeks ago. I had my hearing tested, so that I could get some hearing aids. When the doctor asked me why I had waited so long to get the devices, I said, “Vanity and pride.”

He immediately asked, “So you don’t have these things in your life anymore?” My response surprised me. I said, “Yes I’m still more vain and prideful than I should be, but now there is a voice that I want to hear that is greater than anything else. That voice is the voice of my two year old granddaughter. When she would talk everyone said, ‘Oh did you hear that?’ I would say ‘No, what did she say?’ This happened over and over again, and no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t understand anything she was saying.”

When there is a voice that we want to hear more than anything else, we will put aside everything that would prevent us from hearing that voice and put on everything that would help us to hear it better. Of course there is no voice that we as believers long to hear more than the voice of God.

Paul writing to the Colossians in chapter three gives us a list of thing we must put away if we are going to hear God’s voice unhindered by the sin barriers where we all are prone to wade. When we have unconfessed sin in our life, the background noise of the world will muffle or even drown out the clear small voice of God that is trying to communicate with us. Therefore we must, as verses 5-10 says, put away whatever is worldly and sinful in our lives, so that God’s voice can be heard.

Not only must we put away worldliness and sin, but we must also put on the some new things. Verses 12-14 give us a list of things to put on: heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, accepting everyone, forgiving everyone, and above all put on love. These things connect us to God in Christ Jesus as He demonstrated all of these characteristics to us while He walked on the earth. Since God is Love, then when we have these qualities, we have a clear connection with God that is unhindered by the noise that would normally drown out His voice in our lives.

Today, I love to clearly hear my granddaughter when she says, “Papa, I love you,” and nothing I need more in my life than to clearly hear the voice of God when He says, “Alan, I love you!”