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Listening Or Just Hearing?

You have probably asked someone this question or maybe it has been asked of you: “Are you listening?” Many of us are good “hearers” but we are not really that good at “listening.” The dictionary defines hearing as being aware of sounds coming to the ear, implying that those sounds are not being paid attention to whereas listening is paying attention to the sounds coming to the ear” by making a conscious effort to hear. Think about sitting around the dinner table at Thanksgiving with four conversations taking place simultaneously and a football game blaring from the TV. Hearing can be done without thinking, thus it is an inactive word, but listening is active, you must think about what you are doing.

Our Father wants us to walk with Him. But in order to walk with Him we must first be able to not only hear His voice, but also make an effort to listen to it. While it is true that God very rarely “talks” to us as someone else talks to us, in an audible voice, God does speak to us. God speaks to us today in a number of ways, some of which are through His Word, through His Son Jesus, through nature, through other people, through music, through life circumstances, through the Holy Spirit, and through prayer.

In order to know God’s will, we need to learn to listen to His voice. In order to digest what it is God is trying to say to us, we need to actively listen. And in order to walk with God and live out His plan for your life, you need to be a purposeful listener. In other words, listening and doing go hand in hand.

So, you might be asking, “How do I walk with God?” It starts with putting your trust in Jesus, and from there begin pursuing a continual relationship with Him and seeking to live in His presence every day, obeying God and walking in His truth, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct your path, and repenting when you sin. Maybe now you are wondering, “How then do I listen to God?” You can begin by praying, “listening” for His voice, reading the Bible, allowing it to “speak” to you, asking God to speak to you (read 1 Samuel 3:1-14, pay particular attention to v.10), being watchful of life’s circumstances, God just might be speaking to you through those circumstances, and being expectant of Him talking to you.

Now “listen” to what God’s Word says about listening to and walking with God. In James 1:22-25 we read this – Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks in the mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard – they will be blessed in what they do.

Are you walking with Jesus? Are you listening? How are you responding?

Dave Garrett

New Bern, North Carolina


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