The Wisdom in Listening by Robin Dotson
Matthew 11:15, James 1:5, Luke 11:9-10, Psalm 34:4
Matthew 11:15 - He that has ears to hear, let him hear.
Several years ago I attended a training for my job at the time called "Train the Trainer". I learned quite a bit from the training but I distinctly remember the topic of LISTENING. The leader of the training asked us the question -
"Are you a pretend listener or an active listener?”
She went on to explain what she meant. She asked if we had ever been in conversation with someone and pretended to listen when in all actuality we were thinking in our heads of what we were going to say next or thinking of something totally unrelated. GUILTY as charged!
I remember for two days we worked on active listening. It seems fairly easy but it was actually quite grueling for me. One of the exercises we had to do was listen to a mock customer's problem and then come up with a solution. The solution had to include some of the customer's words, therefore you had to be listening. I remember how difficult it was because I am a talker, but it made me much more aware of truly listening. It also made me realize that I was a "pretend listener" more often than I thought.
If you look up the definitions of knowledge and wisdom in the dictionary, you find a distinct difference between the two. Knowledge is about gaining information and wisdom is about taking knowledge and applying it to everyday life in order to make good decisions. Wisdom is gained by listening and applying.
Who is the master of all wisdom and should be the one guiding us in decisions every day?
James 1:5 - If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Yes, God is the one we should be listening to. In our prayer life, are we sometimes that "pretend listener"? Do we think we have enough knowledge and wisdom of our own that we really don't need God's intervention? Do we have so many requests for God that we are just thinking about what else we want to ask of him, instead of listening to see if he is trying to answer or give us some wisdom in a decision we need to make?
What if God was a pretend listener? We sure wouldn't appreciate that, would we? We expect God to be available to us anytime, anywhere. He promises us that he is always there if we just knock at the door.
Luke 11:9-10 - And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
I think God expects us to be willing to stop in the busyness of our lives and listen to the wisdom He gives through His Word, the Holy Spirit or through others we come in contact with daily. I don't want to be a pretend listener when God has something to say or be too preoccupied to take notice of an opportunity to share wisdom with another person.
My prayer today is to be a more active listener in all of my relationships and especially in my prayer life. I pray I will not let the distractions of this world cause me to miss out on God's wisdom in my life.
Psalm 34:4 - I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
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