James 1:1919 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
Are you a good listener? To clarify I’m not talking about hearing, most of us do that pretty well because GOD has blessed us with the ears to do so. But hearing is not listening. Listening is difficult because there are many things that compete for our attention. Externally we are exposed to literally hundreds of thousands of stimuli daily from the TV, to the neighbor’s dog, to the sound of a distant siren from and emergency vehicle. We hear all things, but to what do we listen?
It is said that we each have three internal voices, only three that complete for our attention, our voice, the voice of the evil one, and the voice of GOD. For most of us, the noisiest voice is usually our own. We learn very early how to speak to ourselves and focus on satisfying our own desires and pleasures first. Because it is an internal voice we do not hear it with our ears but with our minds and ultimately our hearts. As we grow so does our internal voice often maturing uncensored and unchecked. Can you hear it? Are you listening? Sometimes it is so loud it drowns out external sounds like when I’m tuning out during a meeting or presentation at work, during a conversation with a friend or loved one, or maybe during a worship service. And then there is always that other voice, the one that wants me to concentrate on meaningless things that lead me around in circles, waste my time, and create unnecessary drama and hardship.
To be a good listener there are two hard and fast rules. First, as the passage indicates, we must be quiet on both the inside and outside. Secondly we must do something that may be awkward and uncomfortable, focus on something or someone other than ourselves. It is often in this time that we will hear that third voice that is clear and distinct from the others, the unmistakable voice of GOD. Can you hear it? Are you listening?
Heavenly FATHER as we are bombarded today with all the things competing for our attention grant us peace as the storm roars around us and the ability to clearly hear YOUR voice and listen! Lead and guide us this day to walk in your ways according to will. In CHRIST name we pray. Amen