Thursday, April 6, 2017

Let My Words Be Few

Ecclesiastes 5:2  "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few."

James 1: 19-20  "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires."

       Hearing should be easy, but actual listening can be rather difficult at times.  We are easily distracted and are attention is snatched away in a flash.  Sometimes the world is so loud that the whispers of God go by unnoticed.  Yet sometimes God is shouting, but all we want to hear is the world.  Really hearing God, or anyone, requires patience, energy, focus and love.  " In our sin, we’d rather trust in ourselves than another, amass our own righteousness than receive another’s, speak our thoughts than listen to someone else."  
       Listening to God.   "Why are we so terrified for God to speak to us? It is because we know that when God speaks we must either do what He asks or tell Him we will not obey." Prayer is a two way conversation between you and God, not just a place to express ourselves and our needs.  Are you listening, as well as speaking, to God? Listening to God takes reverence and humility.  Going to a place to be alone with God means turning off the world and it's distractions that pry our attention away.  Romans 10:17, "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ."  We have to remember that God's always at work so we must listen for the direction we seek and be patient while we wait.  God not only longs for us to hear His voice, but to listen and follow His will. 
       Listening to others.  “Poor listening diminishes another person, while good listening invites them to exist and matter.”  How often are we preparing our response in our minds, rather than listening to the full story?  "We need to hear the whole train of thought, all the way to the caboose, before starting across the tracks."  We must not get defensive but wait to express our opinions till it's our turn.  Proverbs 18:13.. "To answer before listening—that is folly and shame."  Sometimes, listening neither requires or wants a response of any kind, verbal or with body language.  It is a comfort just to know you've been heard, even if nothing changes right then.
       From Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, "He who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either; he will be doing nothing but prattle in the presence of God too. This is the beginning of the death of the spiritual life. . . . Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies."
      As for myself, many of my friends think I'm a good listener.  I can't take all of the credit, because my mask keeps me quiet [verbally] until it's taken off.   Therefore, I do have a little extra time to consider what I'm going to say.  My mask has saved me from some foolish outbursts and I thank God right then and there for my mask.  Yes, my mask and diminished air endurance has taught me to listen more intently and let my words be fewer, but also to make my fewer words count more with a purpose in mind.  May my two ears do more work in my own life, than my one mouth, and may I follow what I hear from Him alone.