He Listens and He Hears
I had occasion these past few days to think upon the art of listening. Today, in our fast-paced world I wonder if we’re really listening to one another. When we ask someone, ‘how are you‘ are we really interested. When someone talks to us are we focused on what they’re saying…do we really hear them. I wonder. I know oftentimes we have so many things, lists of our own, that constantly revolve in our minds that occupy our own thoughts…can we lay them aside to really listen.
We Should Listen, first
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,” James 1:19
When someone is speaking to us, especially if something their saying is unpleasant to us, we should focus on what they’re saying and really – ‘hear’ them. More often than not, we’re rehearsing and preparing our own response.
We should listen to God’s Word, and do it
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22
We can hear and read God’s word, then walk away not realizing how we should apply it to our lives. God admonishes us not only to hear His word…but to do it. This is focused living on God’s word.
“But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” Luke 11:28
“Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.” Proverbs 16:20
God not only hears us…he listens
“Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3
“And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.” I John 5:14
“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.” Jeremiah 29:12
It is good to know that God hears us. Not only that, but whatever our need God understands, loves and cares for us. There really is a ‘father – child’ relationship. God hears us – He hears our heart’s cry. God knows our troubles and challenges. He understands…much, much more than we realize.
But, as a wise Father, he doesn’t give in to every request. He knows exactly what we need – He’s the original, ‘Father Knows Best‘. Sometimes he carries us through the difficulty without out our being aware. Because, where is our focus at the time…on ourselves. We’ve become so very aware of our own need. He sends comforters our way – each other. So, when God calls on us to be ‘listeners‘ for Him, we should be ready to do so.
God gives us the comfort of His Spirit. If we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, we instantly received the Comforter…also our Teacher. Then, how do we learn…we’re steered right back to the source…God’s word. It is so full and so relevant for every need we have and every thing we should do.
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
“In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” Psalm 18:6
“O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch.” Psalm 5:3
How We Can Listen
There are two ways we can listen. First of all, if we’re in need – we read God’s word; we pray and then we wait…read, pray…wait…read, pray, wait….
“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,” Acts 16;25
Secondly, we can make ourselves available to listen to others. We have to learn to set our own thoughts and needs aside, have a clear mind and focus to listen.
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9
James 1:19 – 27 – The Art of Listening….
The first chapter of James beautifully illustrated in the benefits of listening to God, that God hears us and how we should live amongst one another. Listening to God’s instructions, truly learning and living those instructions enables us to be usable by God so that we can…listen to others as they need.
“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:19 – 27
There is tremendous comfort in knowing God listens to us. There is amazing joy in knowing that from our time spent with Him through His word and through prayer, that we have a relationship with Him. Through this, we can make ourselves available to others to listen and to demonstrate the tremendous love of God we have come to understand. I believe it is deeply beneficial to others and to ourselves to live out a life that demonstrates the power of the love of God…through listening.