The Art of Listening

One of the most important life-skills that one can develop is how to communicate effectively. Lack of communication and/or faulty communication has been the chief cause of marriage breakups, families being destroyed, and in extreme cases jail cells being occupied.

Scripture provides some communication skills that will help us navigate the often tricky landscape of relationships. One principle that we can begin applying today is to listen when someone is talking to you.

 “Everyone should be quick to listen…” (James 1:19, NIV).

1)      Listen to God

  • Through His Word
    • Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”
    • Psalm 119:133 David writes, “Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.”  
  • Through The Holy Spirit
    • Acts 13:1-3 gives an incredible example of the Holy Spirit speaking to a group of believers, providing important direction for the advancement of the gospel…

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.

Obviously, it is crucial that we learn to listen to God for direction, problem-solving, wisdom, and insight.  It would also prove to be beneficial for us to learn to…

2)      Listen to Others
Dale Carnegie says that you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you. 

Basic listening skills that we should all learn to develop:

  • Look at people when they’re talking to you.
  • Be a mirror—reflect back to the person what they are saying, simply to ensure that effective communication is taking place.
  • Ask questions for clarification but don’t interrupt. Never assume that you know where the other person is “coming from.” Wrong assumptions can prove to be lethal to even the strongest of relationships! 

Simply applying these basic steps to your relationships with both God and others will greatly improve your social life! This is not some psycho-babble diatribe, rather it is the essence for which we were all created, as defined by Christ when He commanded us to,

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

Or as I like to paraphrase this, “Love God completely… and love others deeply!” 

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