A while ago, I was trying to teach a group of people the importance of listening. I split the group in half and had one group wait outside the room. I told the people left in the room to do everything in their power to show they weren’t listening without speaking. I then told the group outside the room to think of a life changing event that had happened to them. I wanted them to go back in the room, find someone and share that story with them. I didn’t foresee what happened next.
The people who shared their life changing stories began getting upset. As they shared stories of a miracle baby that was born, a near death experience or something like that, they other people were taking pictures of their shoes, looking at their phones and counting ceiling tiles. The ones who were sharing their hearts began to yell, “Are you listening to me?!?” Their body language began to change. Their voices got louder. All of them were upset to the point that I had to cancel the exercise. I don’t think anyone who participated in that exercise will forget how important it is to listen.
Listening is a lot different than hearing. Listening requires active participation on your part. It involves engaging the mind. There were many in Jesus’ day who heard Him teach. They could hear what He was saying, but they weren’t listening to easy He was saying. In john 10:27, Jesus said, “The sheep that are my own hear and are listening to my voice (AMP).” He separated the two words to make a distinction between His followers and everyone else. Only those who truly follow Him listen (engage the mind and heart). They are the ones who then engage their body to do what He says.
James 1:22, the King James Version says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hears only.” When we learn to truly listen to what God tells us in a His word, we can’t go on living like we were. It changes us and compels us to live differently than before. Anyone can hear it and walk away the same. It takes someone who will listen to what it says to enact it. I think that’s why David was intent on meditating on it. When we stop and think about the scriptures we read, it helps us to listen and to focus on what God was really saying.
One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Psalm 1. It talks about the blessed person and their characteristics. In verse two, he wrote, “His delight and desire are in the law of The Lord, and on His law (the precepts, the instructions, the teachings of God) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) by day and night (AMP).” The person who actively tries to listen what God is saying through His Word is blessed. Don’t just read God’s Word to check off a box of things that Christians do. Meditate on it, think about it, listen to it and then act on it. That’s how He knows His sheep are listening.