Do you listen to others well? I mean, do you really listen? Good listening involves not thinking about what you are going to say while the other person is still talking. Figuring out what you are going to say before the person has finished means you’ve not really heard what he or she has said in the first place!
I am thankful that our God is a listening God. When I come before Him, He doesn’t interrupt me and say, “Well, I know all about that! I’m omniscient, remember? Don’t trouble me with this. I’ve heard it all before.” Could you imagine what it would be like if God was like this? Thank God He is not like that. He loves to listen to those who would pray to Him. From the Bible, we read that Jesus was always compassionate, every time people called out to Him, He would stop to listen to them and their requests. He was prepared to wait and allow the people to express their hearts to Him.
Proverbs 18:13 (NIV)
To answer before listening – that is folly and shame.
If you would observe the conversations of others, you would notice that sometimes they are not actually involved in a proper conversation. There is no real ‘listening’ going on, they are just taking turns to talk. I believe that God doesn’t want that for His people, He wants us to share His heartbeat for others. Listening can help us to understand a person and take the opportunity to reach out to them! Very often, when people are having problems in their lives, their words are littered with clues as to the deeper roots of their issues. Learning to be a good listener can help us to read in between the lines of their words, rather than taking them at face value.
Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,
4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
God also wants us to be known for our love. He says in John 13:34-35 (NIV)- 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.” In times of trouble and distress, people aren’t interested in our theology or what we believe. People don’t care how much we know, they only want to know how much we care. They want to know, “Where is Jesus?”, “Is Jesus real?” and “Does He love them?” Our role as God’s ambassadors on earth is to love others as Christ has loved us. A lot of times, after bringing people into the church, we may not be good at caring for them when they are there. God’s desire and command is for us to evangelize AND disciple. Start evangelizing and bring people to church. But, don’t stop there. That is merely the beginning of something amazing that God is doing in their lives.
It is important to know the heartbeat of God because it means to know His will for you and for those who are lost. When we know just how much God loves us, as well as those who are lost, we are able to awaken the passion in us to reach out and tell people about Christ and how much He is in love with them. It also tells us how much God longed to be in a relationship with us when we ourselves were once lost. When we are reminded of how much God loves us, we desire to bring the Good News to others so that they can also experience this joy we have.
Let us pray.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You for Your love not just for me, but for those who have yet to know You. I acknowledge Your command to evangelize and disciple. Teach me the art of developing good relationships and how to become a person of love. May my heart be centered on You and those around me. Let me not be too caught up with my own affairs and not care about the affairs of those I know and those You place in my path each day. Remind me that You died for all and not just me. Ignite in me a passion to serve You and share the joy that You have brought into my life. In Jesus’ Name, I pray. Amen.”