Listening to Grow
Monday - September 27th
Scripture to Read Today: Proverbs 1:1-7
Let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance.
The communication skill that most of us use more frequently than any other is listening. Several studies have emphasized the value of listening as a communication skill. According to one study, many of us spend 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours communicating in some way. We spend approximately 9 percent of that time writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking, and 45 percent listening. Yet, according to studies, the majority of us are poor and ineffective listeners.
Someone has said, "Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self." Focusing on what others are saying and not just what you plan to say can be an incredible way to serve others. Listening is as much a skill as it is an art. If we want to hear what others are truly saying, we must value them, allow them to speak without being interrupted, and even ask clarifying questions, so we fully understand what is being said. For many of us, that is a tall task. We must set ourselves aside and concentrate our focus on others and what they are communicating.
The Scriptures speak of the importance of both listening to God and listening to other people. Therefore, a critical part of our spiritual growth as followers of Christ involves the healthy practice of listening. As we practice this discipline, we hear what God has to say as He speaks into our lives, and we gain wisdom and understanding from paying attention to the input of others.
The Book of Proverbs says much about the words we use and the power they have. It also says much about our ability to listen to God and others - ultimately to grow in life and the Lord. Proverbs directly links our ability to listen to the wisdom we need to live life successfully. "Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance" (Proverbs 1:5).
As you start this new week, seek to listen more and talk less. Hear others. Allow what they are saying to soak into your own mind and heart before you formulate your reply.
We grow best spiritually when we cultivate our ability to listen to God and others!