(Part 1 of 3)
Isaiah 50:4-5… “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord GOD hath opened mine ear and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back” (KJV).
In these verses, we see that “a hearing ear” is the key to being skillful in communication. This is our goal: “Lord, awaken my ear to hear.” Are we really listening to what God is saying to us? Jesus was able to speak with power because He was, first, a good listener (John 5:19, 6:57, 12:49).
1 Corinthians 14:10… “There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification” (KJV). Every sound that you hear has a meaning. God has a voice that speaks to the church. The Holy Spirit will convey to the church what He hears from the Lord Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14). Paul writes that the Spirit will convey revelation, knowledge, confirmation through prophesying, and teaching (1 Corinthians 14:6). Seeing that we are in the last of the last days, we really need to be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah 6:9… “And He said, Go and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive it not” (KJV). This was the very first message that God had said Isaiah was to bring to the nation. This very first message was in the area of hearing and seeing (listening and understanding). Receptivity is one of the first laws of life.
Acts 22:22… Paul was speaking to a group of Jews, testifying of his call to the ministry and to the Gentiles. “And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices and said, away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live” (KJV). Here they were, eagerly listening until Paul mentioned one of their pet prejudices (Gentiles). They shut their minds, hardened their hearts, turned him off and put up a barrier. This is very familiar today. Christians only listen to the point where what is said clashes with their beliefs. There are times when our beliefs are off-course. People react to what they hear before they fully understand what is being said.
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23… In the parable of the sower, four people asked for, and received, a word from God. Three out of four (75%) did not hear correctly. One didn’t take time to understand, and the devil snatched it. Another received the word with great joy but when pressure came for a commitment, he wrestled with the decision and gave it up. The third man didn’t listen about the dangers of mixing in the cares of the world with the truth of separation from the world, and the word was choked out. The one who heard, produced. Faith comes when you hear the word (Romans 10:17). God wants to communicate with us. Jesus said, “Take heed what ye hear . . . and unto you that hear more shall be given” (Mark 4:24, KJV).
PROBLEM AREAS IN LISTENING…
A) Immediately labeling a subject as uninteresting… The thinking here is, “He doesn’t have anything I can use. How can he help me when I’m not interested in his message?” Don’t cast off the message. It is better to ask yourself, “How can I apply what he is saying to my life?”
B) Criticizing the speaker’s speech habits or personality… The problem here is being too judgmental. Moses had poor diction, but he had content. Concentrate on the content of what is being said.
C) Getting over-stimulated before the speech is finished… You heard a line or two and your mind ran away into some fantasy. Excitement gripped you. Withhold evaluation until the message is complete and you understand what is being said. In our day, many saints run eagerly to hear a fresh charismatic voice without even considering if it is the Holy Spirit who speaking through this man or woman. Often people are gullible to recognize false words. When the Spirit teaches you, it will rouse your senses, but it will also leave some good roots.
D) Listening only for the facts or highlights… It’s the word behind the facts that becomes meaningful. What do the facts represent?
E) Faking attention… It takes as much concentration to fake hearing as it does to absorb hearing the message. Why not use your energy in listening and hearing?
F) Trying to outline everything the speaker is saying… Write only what is essential. Listen and write key points only and fill in some details later.
G) Tolerating distractions or focusing on movement while trying to listen… Pay no attention to the distractions. Keep your mind on course with what you are hearing. Practice concentration in your listening. Sharpen your hearing skills.
H) Speech speed is faster than your thought speed or hearing speed… Train yourself to anticipate the direction of the message. Identify key truths. It’s like driving–keep your vision a good distance ahead of the car. Your listening sometimes needs speeding up.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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