Do we have daily conversations with God where we make sure we are heard—but forget to listen? Are we really even conversing at all in this situation–or are we just presenting a one-sided monologue to the Lord, consisting of our personal list of requests, wants, and needs?
“The word listen contains the same letters as the word silent.” ²
To engage in true conversation with our God, we must also be silent and listen to what He has to say to us. There is much that can be heard in silence. Noise drowns out the Word, which the Lord wants to impart to us. Our own words can interfere with and block out His part of the conversation. Maybe WE TALK TOO MUCH–without letting Him speak.
Listening involves a focused mindset. In our society today, such a mindset is difficult to develop and sustain: short quotes on Facebook, short blurbs in ads, condensed recaps of news, texts and tweets, instant messaging. We move from one item to another quickly on Google. In fact, in a recent Microsoft study reported in Time, the results indicate that our focus of attention has declined to a mere eight seconds. ³
So how can we listen and be silent before God to hear all He has to say when our attention span is so lacking? It is possible! Each one of us can remain absorbed, engrossed, riveted and totally engaged for a longer duration of time in something we love to do—fishing, reading, cooking, sewing, a sport, exercise, camping, etc. We can develop and maintain this intentional focus when the “want to” is there.
“Hearing” God and “listening” to His Word are referenced many times in scripture:
Psalm 85:8 Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly.
Deuteronomy 28:1-2 “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
If we are to truly live “by every word” coming from God, then we must love this conversation with God more than our desire for anything else—and we must learn to listen and be silent.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
¹ Hazlitt, William
² Brendel, Alfred
(Sharon G. Tate blog 10/11/15) Meditations on God’s Word teacherforjesus.com