There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth, so the saying goes, to remind us of the importance of listening more than speaking; however, I find this to be extremely difficult. I would love to be able to honestly admit that I am a good listener to my children, my husband, friends, and coworkers, but sadly, I cannot. What I seem to be better at is being a good talker, a good complainer, good at giving my unsolicited opinion, good at a critical response, or good at trying to get the last word in. Unfortunately, my limited listening skills or my insensitive words unintentionally indicate to my family and friends that I might not care for what concerns them as much as I try to convince myself that I do. Perhaps like me, you underestimate the significance of a listening ear, genuinely showing how much you care about another person, thus truly interested in what they have to say by giving them undivided attention when needed. Listening is a vital component of communication and a beneficial pathway to building a relationship with another person. Sometimes I wonder what I have missed out on by not stopping what I’m doing, being still and quiet for additional minutes, and patiently listening to the other person. In the Bible, while Jesus was teaching the crowd in parables, He said in Mark 4:23, “If anyone has ears to hear, he should listen!” There is a subtle difference between hearing what someone has said and actually listening to the one speaking.
In Psalm 46:10 (ESV), the Lord clearly exhorts, “Be still, and know that I AM God.” Isn’t that an interesting command to think through for what is essential to experience the outcome? To recognize, learn, and understand who the Lord God is involves that we be deliberately still with our focus on the things of God, particularly His Word. This can be a very tough practice as we look around and have so much to take care of or be responsible for or even distracted by. In looking at other biblical translations for this Psalm 46:10 verse, “Be still” is also translated, “Calm down – Stop fighting – Stand silent – Cease striving – Be quiet.” Spending time in the heavenly Father’s presence by taking the time to consistently listen and learn from His Word enables us to recognize how much God cares for us because of what He has done on our behalf to provide salvation through His Son, Jesus. The Lord speaks primarily through His revealed Word, which is a great way to begin and continue to cultivate a growing relationship with Christ; but it may mean evaluating how often we stop for a bit, cease striving, and just be quiet. The Almighty Father spoke audibly of His Son, Jesus, in the presence of a few of Jesus’ earthly disciples, and proclaimed in Matthew 17:5, “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
Of all the commands the Father could declare to these committed followers of Jesus, His one directive was that they listen to His Son, listen to His teaching, to His words, to His gospel message of redemption, grace, and forgiveness. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and no one can come to the heavenly Father except through faith in Christ (John 14:6). How well are we listening to the Son and paying attention to His Word? There are many voices out there vying for our attention. Who or what are we listening to? Is there anything hindering us from listening to Christ through His Word? Taking the time to be still, listening to the Savior, and knowing that He is God, may just be what’s needed to better prepare each of us for our day and what it could entail.
Tamar Miller, Author of Odd Moms Out, www.tamarmiller.com