Abundant life, Leadership

It Starts with Listening

listenListening to someone is part of effective communication.  There is a real distinction between merely hearing the words and really listening for the message.  Many times people don’t listen because they are caught up in their own thoughts of what they are going to say or they tune the other person out.  The saying goes, God give us one mouth and two ears, so we need to listen twice as much as we talk.  I have seen in our parents how the husband will tune the wife out until she yells at him or the young mother having a conversation on the phone with a friend and she tunes out her screaming children in the background. If you ask a group of students to give a one-word description of listening, some would say hearing; however, hearing is physical. Listening is following and understanding the sound—it is hearing with a purpose. We all choose whether we want to practice effective communication or not.  When we truly listen, our eyes will be focused, our mind will be consentrating on what is being said and we will acknowledge what is being said.  The focus is on what is being said not just hearing without meaning.  

Listening seems hard for some people when it comes to the Word of God.  Many times we can get distracted, tune out, or our minds can be elsewhere instead of focusing or concentrating what is being read or said.  Why should we listen to the words of Jesus?  First of all no one speaks like He does because He speaks the very words of God with power and authority.   The authority in the Word, in which is given to the church for us also to use, contains power.  There is another dimension of power to defeat the enemy and we can use His words, power and authority.  We should listen to the words of Jesus because it tells us how to have truth in life and us.  These words can sustain physical life and restore physical life but more important than that they are the way to eternal life.  Our faith is awakened upon listening to the Word of God because believing in Jesus comes by hearing the word of God.  Without the word, we would have no faith and would not believe in Jesus thus eternal life would not be had nor would truth be in us.  girl listen

Here is a list of poor listening skills:  Criticizing a speaker, finding fault with the speaker, allowing yourself to be distracted, faking attention, calling a subject boring, daydreaming, and a poor listener wants entertainment not education.  Hopefully, the next time you find yourself listening whether in church or in a classroom, these above characteristics won’t seize you.

Why don’t people listen to Jesus or His Word?  The Bible describes a couple types of listeners.  “My words have no place in you” is a Scripture Jesus used for people with their minds and hearts are stuffed in such a way when he speaks it won’t fill their hearts.  There simply is no room in the mind to let Jesus come in because of rebellion or just simple because there is no time left in the busy schedule of their life.  Where the word of God has no place, sorrows is to be expected; room is left there for sin. A sick person who turns from his physician, and will take neither remedies nor food, is past hope of recovery. The truth of listening to the Word both heals and nourishes the hearts of those who receive it.  The next type of listener is a person “not of God”.  It is those who refuse to listen with the intent of disobedience or ignoring those words all together.

John 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Jesus described the gracious disposition and happy state of his sheep; they heard and believed His word, followed him as His faithful disciples, and found eternal life.  Jesus was strong in cautioning against presumption. He let no one think that he could presume to be a Christian while at the same time disregarding or disobeying His teachings. He said, “My sheep listen to my voice … and … follow me”. Jesus did not say, “I give them eternal life and they follow Me.” Instead He said, “They follow Me and I give them eternal life.” Since faith in Christ is the sole condition of salvation in Scripture and in John’s Gospel, “following Him” must be a figure for faith in Christ.  If we are not listening to Christ and are not following Him in faithful obedience, we are not His.  Who are the true sheep? The ones who follow. Who are the ones who follow? The ones who are given eternal life.  Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The fruit of one’s life reveals whether a person is a believer or an unbeliever and it all starts with listening.

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