“Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7 NIV).
If you want to be a better listener, you have to work at it. Listening is a skill, if you aren’t a good listener, you can’t be a good communicator. Solomon says it bluntly in Proverbs: “Listen before you answer. If you don’t, you are being stupid and insulting” (Proverbs 18:13 GNT). Full confession, one of my worst faults is interrupting people. God is helping me do better, but I have a long way to go. One of the reasons I interrupt is because I think I know what the other person is going to say, which is impossible for me to know. I have had to work at my listening skills to become a better listener. The One I try to listen to most, is Jesus.
James gives us practical tips on how we should communicate with each other. “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” (James 1:19 NIV). The first thing he tells us to do is be quick to listen. If we’re listening, we can’t be speaking. If we’re going to listen to Jesus, we must first be quiet. The hardest part of quiet time with God, for me, is the actual quiet time. The waiting period for Him to respond to what I have said. I lift up prayers expecting immediate results, but that is not what happens. God isn’t a vending machine in the sky, waiting to meet our every need. God is our Creator who wants us to learn to listen to Him.
God is our Creator who wants us to listen to Him.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, talks about how creation is groaning (Romans 8:22 NIV). God is speaking to us all of the time, He speaks through His people and His creation. If we don’t know how to listen, we’ll miss what He’s saying.
To be a good listener we need to put our agenda aside. We need to not assume we know what God is going to say. We have to wait and give Him time to speak. We need to find quiet time to be alone with Him. We can meditate on His word and let it speak to our hearts. And we can’t interrupt until He is finished. God may take days, weeks, years to answer our prayers, we have to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.
Question of the Day:
Where do you’re listening skills need work?
Further Reading: Leviticus 20:22-22:16 NIV, Mark 9:1-29 NIV, Psalm 43:1-5 NIV, Proverbs 10:18 NIV