Gloria and I were watching a news broadcast recently when she asked me, “Did you hear that?” It just so happened that I was looking up something on my iPhone at the moment and I responded, “no, what did he say?” I heard the voice of the news anchor but because I was distracted by my own research, I did not know what was being said. In other words, I heard but I was not listening.
How many times do we hear without listening? It doesn’t just happen in the privacy of our homes. It happens in church, in a Sunday School Class or during worship when the sermon is being preached. It can happen in a theater, or classroom, or at a movie. Someone said, “Hearing tells you that the music is playing; listening tells you what the song is saying.”
In numerous Bible passages we are admonished with the words, “He who has ears, let him hear.” In other words don’t just hear the sound of a voice but listen to what the voice is saying. In most Bible verses that urge us to pay attention to what is being said it is because there is a message from God that is important for us to receive, understanding and apply to our lives.
In the physical realm of life voice communication between individuals is a key element in our interaction with one another. But there are times when we hear the voice of another person but in reality we are not listening to what is being said. Teachers find this to be true when giving instructions in the class room. A student may hear the teacher give instructions but fail to listen, comprehend and put into action what the teacher is requesting in the assignment. Sometimes in our verbal communication with one another, we hear the sound of a voice trying to tell us something but we are so busy thinking of what we want to say next that we miss what is being said to us.
In the spiritual realm we are too often so busy trying to tell God what we want, when we want it and why we want it that we fail to be silent long enough to listen to what God is saying to us. Spiritual listening requires discipline, focus and desire to receive Gods message. Such discipline shows that we are teachable. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.” Psalm 62:5 says, “For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from Him.”
There is wisdom in listening. The old saying is that God gave us two ears and one tongue so that we would listen twice as much as we talk. Unfortunately, it seems that most human beings have failed to notice how God created us.
Listening is a discipline. Listening requires that we focus attention on what is being said. When our mind and tongue are in full gear it dulls our hearing capacity. When we truly listen to what someone is telling us it means that we value them and what they are telling us.
Failure to listen God leads to a hardened heart, foolish decisions and failure. Luke 8:15 says, “The seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Our challenge is to not just hear but to listen so that we get the message and apply it to our lives. Discipline your natural and spiritual ears to listen and learn.
In His Love,