In my opinion the three are all different. Hearing is just the biological function, listening is done with the whole of your body, and receiving is done with your heart. I suppose that receiving and listening are a little tricky by that definition but think of it this way…not a word has to be said for either. You can listen to nonverbal communication, however receiving can be done from miles away. Case and point, this book I’ve been reading with my book club The Traveler’s Gift here’s an excerpt:
Suddenly, David relaxed. Smiling, he said, “I understand. I’m dreaming, right?”
“Maybe you are,” the president said, “but, David, I’m not. And even if you are dreaming, that’s not a problem. For centuries, dreams have been used to communicate instruction and direction to people of purpose-great men and women. God used dreams to prepare Joseph for his future as a leader of nations. He gave battle plans to Gideon in a dream. Joan of Arc, Jacob, George Washington, Marie Curie, and the apostle Paul were all guided by their dreams.”
“But I’m an ordinary guy,” David said. “I’m nothing like any of the people you’ve mentioned-great, I mean-and I’m certainly no apostle Paul. I’m not even sure I believe in God anymore.”
Truman smiled as he put a hand on David’s shoulder. “That’s all right, son,” he said. “He believes in you.”
“How can you be certain of that?” David asked.
“Because,” Truman responded, “you wouldn’t be here if He didn’t. Occasionally, someone is chosen to travel the ages, gathering wisdom for future generations. It’s as if the Almighty literally reaches down and places His hand on a shoulder, and in this particular case,” the president peered over his glasses, “it was your shoulder.”
When I read this I chuckled because I thought about Harry Potter…for some reason I’ve been revisiting that moment in Kings Cross when he’s speaking with Dumbledore:
“Tell me one last thing,” said Harry. “Is this real? Or has this been happening inside my head?”
“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”
My point is that…God talks to me, and the more I listen the more I have been receiving. Yes, sometimes I feel a little old or weird when I make mention of my messages or the things I believe speak to me, but I know when He is telling me something. I used to just hear it. Now I’m listening. When He has to use other people to talk to me, I feel like He tried before but I was not receiving the message on my own in those times, usually, my faith is low. I want to have as little as those moments as possible moving into this chapter of my life. Don’t ignore the voice. Hear it. Listen to it. Receive it.