Be a better listener
Anyone who belongs to God listens gladly to the words of God. But you don’t listen because you don’t belong to God. – John 8:47
42 Jesus told them, “If God were your Father, you would love me because I have come to you from God. I am not here on my own, but he sent me.
43 Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It’s because you can’t even hear me!
44 For you are the children of your father, the devil, and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.
45 So when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe me!
46 Which of you can truthfully accuse me of sin? And since I am telling you the truth, why don’t you believe me?
Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic wrote, “High-quality listening is an underrated ability. How well and frequently you listen to others is a better predictor of your leadership potential than your actual intelligence or personality” (How to Become a Better Listener, Chamorro-Premuzic, fastcompany.com). It turns out that good listeners perform better work and have more meaningful and fulfilling relationships. These individuals are easy to trust and appear curious, empathetic, and emotionally intelligent.
Why is good listening so rare? Chamorro-Premuzic asserts, “We live in a world in which people are often rewarded for self-promoting, being the center of attention, and talking as much as they can, even when they have nothing to say.”
Is it possible to become a better listener? Chamorro-Premuzic provides a simple formula:
- Shut up
Chamorro-Premuzic provides four keys to high-quality listening:
Focus: provide undivided attention.
Empathy: see things from another person’s perspective. We put ourselves in someone else’s place by stepping outside our ego cocoon. However, rational kindness and compassion must accompany empathy.
Self-control: control emotions and exercise mindfulness to prevent impulsive interruptions. Stated simply: don’t interrupt.
Inclusion: incorporating the statements and perspectives of others when it is your turn to speak.
Being a good listener is a skill that can be learned and practiced (Chamorro-Premuzic, fastcompany.com).
If developing better listening skills is highly valued in human relationships, how much more so in our personal relationship with the Father?
Luke 14:35 Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand!
REFLECT & PRAY
“Our culture tends to consider people ‘spiritual’ merely if they have an interest in spiritual things. That is not the biblical perspective. Only those who hear God’s voice and obey it are spiritual” (Stanley).
Father help me to be a better listener of people, but more importantly of You and Your Word. But hearing is not enough. Strengthen and encourage me to be a doer, not an auditor.
1 Kings 19:12 A still small voice.
How important is it to develop the skill of hearing the Father’s voice and learning to recognize it? Many conflicting “voices” and spirits are vying for our attention. It takes time and experience to know and recognize the Father’s voice. I’m sure I am not alone when I can recall my mother’s voice. It’s been over four decades since the last time I heard it, but I would know her instantly. How about you and your mom?
The same is true with my dad, sister, and other very significant family members and people in my life over the decades. But for children of the King, merely hearing the Father and reading and understanding the word of God is only the first step. We are not to be simply hearers but also doers.
“James’s readers must never allow themselves to become mere auditors of the Word; instead they must obey it. Here, of course, James trades on the fact that the word hear, in both Hebrew and Greek, can mean either mere sensory audition or it can also mean ‘to hear responsively,’ i.e., ‘to obey’” (Zane Hodges).
James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
“To be swift to hear, at its deepest level of meaning, also means ‘to be swift to obey.’ If the readers ever thought that mere attention to the Scriptures was enough, they were mistaken. With such a view, they would be deceiving themselves” (Zane Hodges).
“It is not enough to hear the Word; we must do it. Many people have the mistaken idea that hearing a good sermon or Bible study is what makes them grow and get God’s blessing. It is not the hearing but the doing that brings the blessing. Too many Christians mark their Bibles, but their Bibles never mark them! If you think you are spiritual because you hear the Word, then you are only kidding yourself” (Wiersbe).
22 But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror,
24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was.
25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.
“The person who lives out God’s principles is consistent in his convictions. We damage our spiritual life seriously when we expose ourselves to the Bible but do nothing with what we read. It is very easy to miscalculate our spiritual condition. We can rationalize that we walk with the Lord when we don’t” (Richison).
© Dr. H 2022