When I was in grade school, my teachers would send me home with a note that always read, “John likes to talk a lot and has trouble listening in school.” Why did God give us two ears and one mouth? No one wants to make friends with someone who is always talking in the relationship and never listening. Saint Francis of Assisi said, “Seek first to understand more than to be understood.” Nobody wants to have a conversation with someone not listening to them or someone who is listening but preparing what they are going to say next while you are talking to them. Great relationships are built by great listeners. People pay crazy amounts of money to counselors to just sit there and listen to their problems. To have a friend that cares enough to listen to you is to have a real friend.
This especially applies to our relationship with God. God listens to us when we pray, “But in my distress I cried out to the LORD; yes, I prayed to my God for help. He heard me from his sanctuary; my cry to him reached his ears” (Psalm 18:6).
When we are dry and feel lost, God asks for us to listen to Him. Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the LORD!” (Ezekiel 37:4).
There has never been a great man or woman of God that did not develop their ears to hear God’s voice speaking in their lives. And there is no voice more important in your life than God’s voice. His words are the only opinion that matters. He wants our undivided attention, not shared with everything else in our lives. He defined His sheep by those who “hear His voice.”
Peter was Jesus’ most notable disciple. But Peter was always saying the wrong things, putting his foot in his mouth. One time, Peter, James and John went on a mountain with Jesus and Peter started saying a bunch of stuff, and God the Father spoke from heaven, “This is My beloved Son, Whom I have chosen, listen to Him!” (Luke9:35).
When we go to church, there is a time to have fun, but there also is a time to listen.
1aAs you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut. It is evil to make mindless offerings to God. 2bDon’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few.
3Too much activity gives you restless dreams; too many words make you a fool.” (Ecclesiastes 5:1-3).
The book of James says,
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James1:19).
So, in Luke chapter 8, Jesus talks about people’s hearing being bad or good. He compares their hearing to 4 soils, 1. a road 2. stony ground 3. ground consumed by thorns and 4. good ground. The whole idea is that when God’s word goes into their heart, it can find no place to bear fruit because, most of the time, they have divided hearts and God wants their undivided attention. He does not want them sharing His opinion with their agendas, with their worldly distractions and desires. He want a good heart that has made room to hear His voice WELL.
3 Reasons to Listen to God: Luke 12:4-6
4 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5 But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins?[a] And not one of them is forgotten before God. 7 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:4-6)
1. Life is Short and What God Thinks is the Only Thing that Lasts. His opinion is all that matters, not men’s opinion. Everything is temporal. These men that killed all those people in Paris did so to make us fear them. Life is always trying to get you to be afraid, especially of what other people think about you. But nothing matters except God’s word over your life. People that do not hear God end their lives in ruin and hell.
2. You are Valuable to God. God cares about you more than anyone else, so you should listen to him. “You are of more value than many sparrows.” God has numbered the hairs on your head. Listen to the one Who took the time to know you so well! Don’t listen to or fear people who don’t know how many hairs are on your head. Listen to God!
3. God is in Control. Matthew says that not one sparrow falls to the ground without God’s permission. That means that God has your back until your time to go to Him. Jesus said to His disciples that no one could be any means hurt them, not even a hair on their heads. Don’t fear men. Honor God Who loves you, Whose voice is the only one that matters, and Who has your back. God said to Abraham, “Fear NOT, I am your Shield and your exceeding great Reward!” (Genesis 15:1).
Four Ways to Know You are Listening Right: Luke 8:16-21
1. You Will Become a Preacher. At the end of Jesus talking about the 4 types of hearing in Luke 8, He says, 16 “No one, when he has lit a lamp, covers it with a vessel or puts it under a bed, but sets it on a lamp stand, that those who enter may see the light. If you are hearing right, it’s going to come out of your mouth. You must shine your light and not be afraid of people and their voices and their opinions. Love God’s word more than anyone else’s in the world! The beds back then were mats on the floor. Nothing looks more ridiculous than a lamp under a mat. That’s fish out of water. A lamp was made to shine. And we are God’s lamps in this earth. We were not made to be hid, because we care what people think of our God and our light. We were made to shine for all to see and so that they may come to the hope we have in Jesus. We must all become preachers for Jesus.
2. You Will Desire to be Authentic and Real, instead of a poser. 17 For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light.
3. You Will Experience MORE of God than you are right now. 18 Therefore take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.” Don’t HIDE YOU TALENTS IN THE GROUND! SHINE! AND GOD WILL GIVE YOU MORE WISDOM, LOVE, POWER! HE HAS YOUR BACK!
4. You Will Be Obedient to God. 19 Then His mother and brothers came to Him, and could not approach Him because of the crowd. 20 And it was told Him by some, who said, “Your mother and Your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see You.”
21 But He answered and said to them, “My mother and My brothers are these who hear the word of God and do it.” It’s not your parents coming to church that makes you a Christian. You must hear and love God’s word for yourself and do His word in order to be called a part of the family of God.
Let’s put aside distractions and make church time a priority. And let’s get our Bibles out and start reading them and ask God to help us understand and love His word. And then let’s pray that God would put His word in our mouths in our work, family, schools and make us real, fruitful, and obedient to Him.
Pray for boldness to fear God more than man to pray for them to let go of areas in their lives that are dividing their hearts from hearing Him well. Pray for an undivided heart that gives full attention to God. Pray the frustrations of our lives would not keep us from obeying God. Pray for fruitfulness in our families and schools for many souls to come to Jesus because of us and not afraid to shine our lights!
Be Careful How You Hear