The Art of Listening

Sequel | Devotion #4: The Art of Listening
Pastor Ryan Story

We are all born with an innate ability to listen. Babies have the ability to recognize their parent’s voice from the moment they are born. I remember how foolish I felt talking to my wife’s stomach for nine months, but I will never forget when my son’s both looked at me. There were some odd feelings as even little mush balls of adorable, they understood what I said. As children grow, listening becomes a skill. Language comprehension, linguistics, and vocabulary are all things that children are learning as they grow. As time goes on, a child grows to understand who “mama” is for no other reason than the praise and excitement parents get when that child repeats the word that has been said to them millions of times before the age of one. The child does not have the ability to know that “mama” is the informal way of saying “mother;” all the baby knows is when they say something, people react.

Listening is a key part of communication. Communication is a key part of any relationship. There are so many times when I have had my head buried in my phone playing Clash Royal and my wife or sons were trying to get my attention. There is nothing that is so disheartening as when you are saying something and no one is listening. I have learned in the few years of being married and as a parent, that when a person is talking to you, they generally want to see an action out of you. If my wife says, “I need you to get Zeke a cup of milk,” and my response is “heard you,” that is doing little to help the situation. Be honest, you have lost it on one of your children, your spouse, or a co-worker because they “heard you” but did nothing after it. Since we all have the ability to listen, the issue that we all face is simple, do we act, do we respond after we hear something?

Genesis chapter 12 is the beginning of Abram’s calling from God. The story starts when one day God called a man named Abram. Genesis 12:1 says, “Now the Lord said to Abram.” This is the beginning of Abram’s story. God told Abram to leave his comfort zone and go. God is an amazing communicator, He is able to speak to anyone and can be heard even when no one is listening. The amazing golden nugget of truth is in Genesis 12:4 that says, “So Abram went.” The beauty is, I do not think it would of mattered what God said to Abram, he would have listened; he would have obeyed.

Obedience is linked to listening. My oldest son is a maniac and has not one ounce of fear. He is strong willed as one can be, and he knows how to get his way. I have learned that in order for him to be obedient to the rules of my house, I cannot expect him to do so unless he listens. I learned early that just spanking him when de does wrong was not correcting his behavior. I had to get on his level and re-communicate what his expectations where. If by chance Broly hits his little brother, if I correct him and he does it again, I take Bro in another room, sit down, make him look me eye to eye and make sure he is listening to what he is doing wrong. I call these “dude chats.” Once I was able to teach my son that he needed to listen to his father’s rules, the obedience came. Not all the time, but he listens better than he did.

Our walks with God are like that. We all know we need to live obediently to God. We all know we should not sin, we all know we should love those who are hard to love, and we all know we must be the light of the world. Sometimes life is not always just an “I am not being obedient issue” it is a “I am not listening” problem. If you are looking to be recklessly obedient to Jesus, you may have to learn how to listen to Him before you get to obeying Him.

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