Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Being Silent to Listen First

Listening is a forgotten skill in our society. We're so busy thinking about what we're going to say next, that we don't listen very well. We live with so much noise around us, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to really listen.

We don't listen well to each other. And we really don't listen to God. We've stopped listening for His still small voice, or we have so much other noise going on in our lives that we drown it out.

I've been reading a book this summer that has been challenging me. It's called The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan. In the chapter he wrote on stopping to hear God, he shared a question that stopped my reading for a while. I had to think about it for myself: "If people stop to listen to you, to whom are you stopping to listen?"

It's a challenging question because I have places where people listen to (or read) what I have to say. I have to be careful that as long as I'm sharing my words, thoughts, ideas with other people, I'm stopping to listen to God first. Because it's in those quiet moments, that I learn. I have to learn to listen first.

And that's a lesson we all need to learn. Whatever sphere of influence we have, whether large or small, we have to learn to listen to God before we speak.

As Buchanan goes on to say in the chapter, "Silence is the condition for listening." (pg. 178). We have to get quiet and turn off the background noise to hear God speak, to be able to recognize His voice.

"God is always speaking. . . . But we're not always listening. We don't make the effort and so fail to go boldly into his throne room to receive what we need: a word that can pierce, and cut, and heal." (pg. 188). Learning to listen for God's voice is important. God is always speaking, but we're not always listening to what He has to say.

We have to learn to stop talking and silence the noise so we can hear His still small voice.

How are you doing at listening?

Do you need to stop doing all the talking and start listening?

Is there noise you need to silence to hear God's still small voice speaking to you?

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