Meanderings of a Minister

What Are You Listening To?
March 22, 2013, 9:00 pm
Filed under: Articles


Have you ever come across a friend wearing an MP3 player and wondered what they were listening to?  I sure have.  I am really interested in what they are listening to when they seem to be really enjoying it or when they cheer at something that happens.  Whenever we see someone being impacted by what they are hearing, it is natural to wonder what that something might be.  I believe it is the same when it comes to listening with our hearts.

Statistics tell us there is increasingly little difference between the church and the world.  The divorce rates, pornography addiction rates, abortion rates, movie attendance and charitable giving percentages are nearly identical between those that attend church and those that do not.  Why is this?  What is causing the church to become a reflection of the world instead of a light shining in the darkness?  What makes people think they can go to church and be just as rude as those they work with?  What makes Christians live Christless?

Perhaps the answer to this can be seen by looking into what we are listening to.  In James 1:19, James tells Jewish Christians who had been scattered across the known world that they needed to hang on to God with all their hearts and the best way to do that was to be quick to listen to Him.  Perhaps we should listen as well.

James starts with a Greek word that means that the people already knew what he was about to tell them, but they needed to know it and keep knowing it.  He tells them to be “quick” to listen.  The word translated quick comes from the Greek word, tachus, which is the root of our word tachometer, which is a meter in vehicles that measures the speed at which a motor is turning in revolutions per minute (RPM).  Be application, James says that we need to not only be quick to listen, but we need to be able to keep a watch on how quickly we are listening to God.

The philosopher Zenocrates said, “Men have two ears and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak.”  An unknown Roman orator is quoted as saying, “The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded by a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper boundaries.”  They agree with James in that we should be much quicker to hear than to speak.

You may agree that you need to be quicker to hear God, but how do you work on this as a discipline in your life?  I am glad you asked.  Here are five suggestions for learning to listen quicker and better to God.  First, work at truly listening to other people when they are talking to you.  The only way for this to truly occur in our lives is for us to love others to the point that we are actually interested in their lives and their story.  Learning to listen to others and care about them helps us to learn to listen in general.  Second, limiting our exposure to visual media helps us to learn to open our ears instead of just our eyes.  This will help us to learn to be still so we can hear God better.  Third, reading God’s word for comprehension.  Many people read God’s word each day, but do little more than advance their bookmark each day.  Reading to actually learn and discern God’s word is vital for listening to Him.  Fourth, slow down and take time to listen.  We cannot hear God if we are so busy with our stuff that we have no time to listen.  Lastly, prepare your heart prior to worshipping with other believers.  Take time to listen to God and approach worship expecting to hear from God.  John MacArthur says, “We cannot really hear God’s Word when our minds are on our thoughts.  We need to keep silent on the inside as well as on the outside.”

So…what are you listening to?


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