Listen…

07/12/2006

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen,
slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about
the righteous life that God desires. James 1:19 (NIV)

Are we quick to listen? It is difficult most times. We are a people who want to tell our story and sometimes that makes it hard to listen to others first--to get to know their heart, and their story, before we tell them ours. This part of Scripture that says, “be quick to listen,” speaks volumes, I believe, about the best way to live this life as God desires.

As Christians, we must be prayerful each day about when and where and how we are to share our faith in a world that many times does not know or love Jesus as we do…one that does not want to hear about Jesus, or can even begin to understand how all-consuming He is in our lives. In a world full of strangers, the best testimony to Jesus Christ is to be Christ to others. To listen to them, to encourage them, to build a relationship with them, and then when God says, “It’s time to speak about Me,” their hearts will have been prepared to listen to what God would have us say.

When we take the time to get to know others by allowing them to pour their heart out to us, we are then more able to pour back into that relationship how very much God loves them and how He longs to help them, and to then encourage others in their walk with our Lord, or even introduce Him to them for the first time.

Jesus commanded us to love our God and to love our neighbor…that is so much fun!! Our job is to have a heart for God, and through that God will show us how to love our neighbor. In loving our neighbor, we must listen to their story, to care about what is going on in their life, to be interested in where they have been, where they are now, where they are going and what they are learning along the way. That is how relationships are built, and that is how God would have us share of His great love--because God is a listening God. He listens to the cries of our heart, every single day, all day long, if we so desire. He is never too busy for us, and He encourages us to speak with Him often. We are told to pray without ceasing! God is willing to listen, and if we are willing to do the same with those He brings into our lives, perhaps they will come to know the love of our Father as we have. Perhaps they will be comforted, as we have been. Perhaps they will feel loved, as we do!

Too many times, we are fooled into thinking that if we do not speak of the things of God, we are not doing our part in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. As stated in 1 Corinthians 13:1, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” The people of this world don’t want to know how much we know about our God, they want to know how much we love them.

When we sit with another, let’s listen to them, and also listen to what the Spirit of God is saying to us…it will “bring about the righteous life that God desires.” We will learn to love God and to love others, when we listen to both first.