The Journey: Listening

In undertaking this journey of examining our own spiritual fullness, it’s much easier to examine areas where we are strong, but it’s more useful to look into areas in which we are weak.  For myself, this is one of the latter, for in my own spiritual practices, listening is not my strong suit.  Oh, I’m a very good listener, once you have my attention, but getting my attention in the first place can be quite another matter.929 112-LR

I’m not bad at encouraging other people, I’m not bad at getting down to the real issue that is bothering somebody, and I can be pretty effective at recognizing a teachable moment and helping others to see something they had previously missed.  I am not naturally good at seeing a person’s pain when I say “How’s it going?” and they say, “great.” To me, you said you were great and that’s that: You’re great. Why should I suspect you might be telling a lie, just because that’s what I’d do if things weren’t so great?  Maybe it’s a “guy thing,” as I’ve been told a few times.

When we fail to really listen when people are speaking, we will miss out on all sorts of things, including finding out that our brother or sister is hurting.  It’s sad enough that in so doing, we are not being helpful to them, but it might even be worse than that when we consider that we ourselves are missing out on an opportunity to be blessed.  Bringing comfort to those who are hurting and healing to those who are in pain is a twofold blessing; here’s why…

I can be pretty dense in this area if left on my own.  You said you were fine, I believe you.  But you are not fine; how was I supposed to know that?  This is a question I’ve asked myself many times, and the answer is that I would have known it if I had been listening, for had I been listening, I would have had the discernment to know.  Remember, that these ‘journey’ posts are about drinking deeply of the Spirit!  That Spirit is the Holy Spirit that indwells us, and it is that same Holy Spirit that provides the discernment, the comfort and the healing, not me.

It is imperative that we listen to the Holy Spirit as we go through our day!  I cannot imagine why more scholars do not consider this a “classic” spiritual practice, rather than an expressive one. as it strikes me as being pretty basic.  In fact it is so basic that I never even thought about it before now!

Here’s a little secret that you may not come across very often: There is no better way to grow spiritually and to drink more deeply of the Spirit than by letting the Holy Spirit minister through you.

No, this isn’t some strange and mystical thing, no you can’t force it or manipulate it, but when it happens it is a life changing thing both for you and most importantly, for someone else.  I believe that it will tend to go in the direction of a spiritual gift that you have.  In my experience, these things happen when we are open to them, when we offer ourselves for God’s service, and when our relationship with our Lord is otherwise strong.  Finally, these things happen so as to build the body of Christ, and never to bring attention, recognition or praise for ourselves.  So, let’s be ready to listen!

Next time, let’s talk about preaching/teaching… and some more about listening

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
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2 Responses to The Journey: Listening

  1. Pingback: Spiritual Practice: Making Doll Clothes | Sisters Under the Trees

  2. dispenser1 says:

    Ability to hear, to listen, to let, ability to present ourselves to him as a living sacrifice, it all comes from the one out of whom the all is, the one in whom we also live, move, and are. Like Jesus our elder brother, we of ourselves can do nothing. The Father living in us does his works. And he is working ALL together for good, to us being conformed to the image of his firstborn. Our conformation and transformation are for the ultimate good, that he may be ALL IN ALL. (1 Corinthians 15:28) Toward this he is operating THE ALL, according to the counsel of his will. (Ephesians 1:11) So to be thanking him ALWAYS for ALL things is a very logical thing to do, knowing that THE ALL is out of him, through him, and for him (Romans 11:36), who is love. In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul takes us to a time beyond the book of Revelation. In Revelation, Jesus and his saints will be reining for the durations of the durations (a limited period of time). In 1 Corinthians we read that Jesus will be reigning UNTIL all the enemies are under his feet, at which time he will deliver the kingdom over to his God and Father. At that time, all who are dying in Adam will have been given life in Christ (1 Corinthians 15:22) ; the second death will be nullified (1 Corinthians 15:26), and all will be reconciled, all in the heavens, all on the land (Colossians 1: 20). So, on the journey, rejoice always! Our Papa is the one who declares the end, from the beginning. Every moment happens with infinite perfection. The Creator of the all(Ephesians 3:9), is also operating the all (Ephesians 1:11). The ability to hear him and believe him is a gift from him. If we find ourselves locked into stubbornness and unbelief, unable to hear or listen, in order to later be shown mercy (Romans 11:32), that also is one of his good works, for his good purpose and our eventual good.

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