“31 If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise. 32 If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.”
People say I have a way of making others feel comfortable, and it’s easy to talk to me. As thankful as I am to hear this, I have to admit that it hasn’t always been the case. Some people are not fans of open communication. Not only do they not like talking about themselves, talking about their feelings makes them very uncomfortable as well. I’m not one of those people. Our Heavenly Father has given us this gift called ‘personality’, and each of us has one. We are all different and have unique qualities. As the Father would have it, I’ve always had the gift of gab, and the fact that I’m curious about many subjects didn’t hurt. When I was younger, I felt I had a lot to say. So, I can talk your ear off, but listening attentively was another story. Listening is a skill that it takes time to learn for many of us, and it is a practice that is absolutely necessary to maintaining a good relationship.
As I have matured in God’s Word, I have learned that being a good listener is just as important as being a good communicator. Some would even say that it is even more important to listen than it is to speak. To listen is to take in what has been spoken or conveyed, and to do so in a way that the information is evaluated, valued or used. It goes without saying that we listen to people we value. If they don’t feel we’re hearing them, they may not feel as though we value them or their opinions. It should be no surprise to us that people can be very offended when we don’t give them the courtesy of being heard. So, not only is listening very important to honoring and respecting our relationship with God, it is also crucial to fostering all our other relationships as well.
The wisdom of Proverbs 20:12(NLT) says, “Ears to hear and eyes to see—both are gifts from the LORD.” This is a very plain and straightforward truth, so much so that its impact may slip by you if you’re not careful. Nothing about the way God created human beings is random. He’s given us ears to hear and eyes to see so that we can perceive and digest internally information we receive externally. He could have placed all the information we’d ever need in our minds from the very beginning. He could have designed us in such a way that we wouldn’t need to hear or see anything, but we are made in God’s image. He sees and He hears, and so do we.
God has created us to be creatures of faith. Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God. It is our choice whether we will listen to God’s Word or listen to the lies that come from the world. We decide what is important to us, and to a great degree we decide what we will hear and learn. Our choices about how and what we will listen to inform everything around us of our identity. If I’m a person that is interested in the truth, I will listen to what God says in His Word. If I’m a person that isn’t interested in the truth, I will not listen to God, but instead will give more attention to other sources of information. A person’s choice to listen to God affirms their identity as His child, for Jesus Christ said in John 10:27(NLT), “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”
We can see that God has been masterfully strategic in giving us eyes and ears, and we must be masterfully strategic in using His gifts to bring glory and honor back to Him. In Matthew 11:15 and 13:9(NLT), as Jesus Christ taught God’s Word, he would say, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand! In this simple verse, he is commanding us not just to listen but to learn. Jesus Christ is pointing to the reality that you and I have a choice. It is our privilege and responsibility to both listen and to understand God’s Word.
The Holy Spirit that indwells us is our teacher. As we hear, read, and study God’s Word, the Holy Spirit works within us internally, causing our understanding to come together in such a way that we comprehend the Word. Hebrews 10:14-16(NLT)tells us, “For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy. And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For he says, “This is the new covenant I will make with my people on that day, says the LORD: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.”” Through the Spirit, the Word is already written on our hearts, and as we read, study, and listen to it, the Holy Spirit affirms the testimony of God’s truth from within. When the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit, truth becomes a part of us, and our faith is strengthened. We desperately need this to happen.
The importance of knowing the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, Guide, and Comforter is the most important aspect of living a successful life as a believer in Christ. It is critical to moving forward in our quest for marriage. Many single women have expected God to guide them to meet the man that they will marry, but they have had little to no interest in being guided by God’s Spirit to learn God’s Word. 2Timothy 2:15(NLT) commands us, “Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.” How can we expect to receive God’s approval for partnering without first committing ourselves to 2Timothy 2:15?
To listen to and learn God’s Word is required in order to love the way He desires us to love. Marriage is the reward for doing what God says, but many of us have looked upon it as an entitlement. We must develop the habit pattern of listening and learning through the Holy Spirit so that he can guide us through God’s Word. John 16:13 tells us that the Spirit will tell us the Word, he will tell us what he hears from Jesus Christ. We can’t have successful marriages and relationships without hearing from the Lord. We need to become masterful listeners, hearing God’s truth first, then we will be able to apply sensitive and attentive hearing as thoughtful spouses who are led by the truth.■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
“Listen, Learn, and Love”, written for findchristianman.wordpress.com. Copyright©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.