There are many things you can do today to demonstrate care and concern for others, but few are as impactful as listening.
I remember as a child once on a boat asking a question to my uncle. While he was in the middle of giving his answer, I asked another question. His response, “If you would be quiet and listen for a moment, you would learn something.”
Although at the moment I did not perceive it as good advice, his statement has stuck with me for years. What he knew and I needed to learn: listening is foundational in life. We simply must listen in order to learn almost anything and grow relationally.
Listening is necessary for wisdom.
Solomon expresses wisdom’s plea and promises to us.
32 Now therefore, listen to me, my children,
For blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
And do not disdain it.
34 Blessed is the man who listens to me,
Watching daily at my gates,
Waiting at the posts of my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life,
And obtains favor from the Lord;
36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul;
All those who hate me love death.
– Proverbs 8:32-36
Wisdom calls out for us to listen to her. You will be blessed if you will hear her and obey her. A truly wise person first listens to and for wisdom.
Listening is foundational in relationships.
The Bible teaches that listening is foundational to all the relationships in the home. A wise son listens to his father and obeys his mother (Proverbs 1:8; 4:1, 10; 13:1). One of the great challenges of parenting is to make wisdom beautiful for our children, as they are not born listening (Proverbs 22:15). Their lack of wisdom encourages them to not listen; therefore, we must use our words in ways that highlights the value and benefits of what we say.
A husband is to live with his wife with understanding (1 Peter 3:7). It is impossible for a man to understand his wife without listening to her and trying to take what she says to heart. Often I have encouraged guys to take notes, write things down, review the notes, and live accordingly. Why? Because we men must listen, learn, and then live consistent with what we have learned in order to live with our wife with understanding. I regularly still take notes and do my best to remember what my wife says.
A wife must listen if she desires to honor Christ by submitting to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6). The goal of the wife is for her husband to enjoy not just her physical beauty (which we certainly do) but more importantly for him to appreciate and delight in her inward beauty, which honors God. For this to take place, the wife must listen to what her husband thinks, desires, and requests.
What is true in the home is also true in all other relationships (Titus 2:1-8). In our vocations, it is critical to listen to those for whom we work and those we serve (Titus 2:9-10; 1 Peter 2:18). In friendships, we listen. In the body of Christ, we listen.
Listening is essential for Christlikeness.
One of the earmarks of a Christ-follower is listening to God in order to honor and obey Him, which ultimately leads to Christlikeness (Ephesians 5:1-2). The one who loves Jesus and desires to become more like Him listens and learns Him through God’s Word. The opposite is also true. The one who does not love Jesus nor desires to become more like Him chooses not to listen and learn Jesus. Jesus, while talking to the Pharisees, declared that not listening demonstrates unbelief (John 8:42-47). He further taught that whoever will hear him and obey is wise (Matthew 7:24).
Jesus’ brother, James, instructed that we should be quick to hear and obey the Word of God (James 1:19-27). The Christ-follower receives blessings from looking into, remembering, and obeying the Bible. This again ultimately helps change us into Christlikeness.
Our challenge then is to listen today. As I recall that day on the boat, I remember the disappointment in myself of having to be corrected for something so simple. I truly wanted to learn and had asked my question from a genuine anticipation to learn something. Yet, I still find myself repeating my uncle’s words to myself about the importance of listening. I still fail at times, and with some people more than others, to not listen well. My challenge, and yours if you choose to join me, is to listen well today.
This article was first posted at Kevin’s website and is posted here with his permission.