Years ago God began showing me that I’m not a good listener. In full disclosure it has been one of the most difficult truths that I’ve had to face about myself but God has been good to help me and while it’s a work in progress, He is faithfully honing my listening skills. So when I found this article in my inbox I read with interest and found it to be filled with godly wisdom to apply; and I believe it will be more than helpful to the ongoing process of me becoming a better listener. I also believe that there are others out there who may benefit from these five important lessons. For this reason, I will share a different lesson each of the next five days with the hope of helping and encouraging any and all who read. At the end of each devo you will find Scriptures to enrich the lesson and grow your faith. – I hope you’ll follow along –
How Can We Model the Love of Christ through Good Listening? [part one
As posted on biblestudytools.com
by – Sheila Alewine
How important is it for a follower of Jesus to be a good listener? Do our social skills matter? To answer, we start with a definition.
What, Exactly, Are Social Skills?
The simplest definition is “the personal skills needed for successful social communication and interaction with others.” This includes verbal, non-verbal, written, and visual skills. Good social skills help us communicate efficiently and effectively and have a direct impact on our relationships.
As we think about our purpose and mission as followers of Jesus, our social skills take on an eternal value. How well do we communicate the gospel? Think about your words, your mannerisms, your responses and reactions, and your non-verbal body language. Do they help or hinder your goal of modeling the love of Christ to both the unbelieving world, and our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ?
The good news is that social skills can be learned and improved, especially when we go to the source of all wisdom, God’s perfect Word. God is a master communicator. His social skills are impeccable. The words and life of Jesus while He lived and interacted on earth, as well as all the written Word of God, sets the perfect pattern to imitate as we model the love of Christ.
Five Things to Consider as We Strive to Improve Our Listening Skills
1. We Must Learn to Listen to God First
Listening requires spiritual maturity, self-control, and wisdom to really hear what another person is saying – all characteristics that come from a personal relationship with God. Spiritual maturity happens as we deepen our understanding of God’s Word. Reading, studying, and meditating on Scripture – listening with an intent to obey – produces the fruit of the Spirit, of which self-control is key. As the Word gives us God’s wisdom, we will better understand others, and be able to respond with His wisdom, not just our opinions or perceptions.
Set your heart to become a good listener of what God is saying to you as the Holy Spirit enlightens your understanding of the Word of God. Let God speak to you before you attempt to speak to others. One practical tip for becoming a good listener is to repeat back to the person speaking what you heard them say, so that you are both clearly communicating. We can practice this by praying God’s Word back to Him!
Colossians 3:16 – “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
Proverbs 23:12 – “Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge.”
Proverbs 22:17-18 – “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips.”
1 Thessalonians 2:13 – “For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.”
Hebrews 4:12 – “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”