When a person exercises consistently, he will grow stronger and stay healthy. Similarly, if we exercise our minds, our thinking and learning processes will improve.
We must carefully choose the content of what we listen to because it will mold our thought processes.
The command in Mark 4:24 is to “continually be taking care,” or “to watch, examine, [and] notice carefully,” with continual attention “about what you hear.” A person who hears only false teachings or speculations will eventually deviate from the truth. Essentially, human beings tend to conform their thinking to what they are continually exposed to.
In the previous verses, Jesus had given the parable of the sower, describing the differing degrees of response to specific environments. The hearers were listening to different sources that affected their spirits, causing either obedience or resistance to the word.
Following this, Jesus gave a general, unbreakable principle: “The measure you use will be the measure you receive” (“if anyone has ears to hear [i.e., is willing to obey], he had better listen!”; Mark 4:23). He who listens well, understands, and remains open to obeying Jesus receives more understanding and insights.
This concept is the principle of reciprocity reiterated in Luke 8:18. The more judgmental we are of others, the more we will be judged (Matt 7:2). The more generous we are, the more God eventually returns generously to us (Luke 6:38). The more care we give to hearing, understanding, and properly responding to His commands, the more we will be given to understand and the richer our lives will become.
However, if we do not take care to hear and understand His word, what little understanding we had will be lost (Mark 4:25). We will lose interest in pursuing the wisdom of God. If you read (or listen to) this study of the commands with care, you are going in the right direction. Listen to know how to obey His instructions.
“Lord Jesus, with all my heart I want Your word to be my guide through life. In a hundred ways every day, I long to live out Your precepts and insights. Help me to do so.”