"I used to talk much more to God, now I just listen and learn." These were words of a friend in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances. Listening requires a discipline of paying attention and hearing clearly. Transitioning from talking to listening is a trait with which I have struggled for years — my whole life.

In my own experience, a seminar or sermon can produce little insight or understanding. Why? I wasn't listening. Even worse is my failure to listen and learn from my wife, children, friends and colleagues. Why am I not listening? – Because I am busy formulating my response to the conversation. When it is my turn to speak, I have neither listened to, nor processed, nor applied what has been said. I just say "what I want to say."

Since God has chosen to reveal Himself to us, listening is an important "activity" of our faith. We have been called to hear, process and respond appropriately to God and His Word. At other times, we choose to listen to others rather than God and the consequences are severe.

  • Eve chose to listen to the serpent instead of God. The consequences continue to fall on us today. (Genesis 3)
  • Elijah at times listened to God with powerful results (I Kings 18); and other times he listened to others with less satisfying results (I Kings 19)

Jesus, speaking to those who would follow Him, said in the parable of the builders that the wise builder represented

"everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice." (Matthew 7:24-27)

Listening, processing and responding to Jesus yields wisdom and a deep relationship with Him. This week let us consider the status of our discipline of listening. How do we rate? How can we reshape the art of listening in our lives? Take action — listen. Then we can respond, with grace and wisdom. Let's do it!

"He who answers before listening — that is his folly and his shame." (Proverbs 18:13)


Sharing the journey with you,

Bob Snyder