The Art of Listening

Do you want to experience more growth, development and maturity in your life? Do you want to experience more of the victory that Jesus won for you? Listening is the skill that will lead to experiencing these things. What you listen to shows where you are going. How you listen shows how far you will get. 

In Mark 4:9, in the Amplified Version, Jesus said: “He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing [and let him consider and comprehend].” Later, in verse 24, He said: “Be careful what you are hearing. The measure [of thought and study] you give [to the truth you hear] will be the measure [of virtue and knowledge] that comes back to you – and more [besides] will be given to you who hear.” On another occasion Jesus was visiting two sisters, Mary and Martha. Mary chose to simply sit at Jesus’ feet and listen to Him, while Martha busied herself with serving. Jesus ended up rebuking Martha and commending Mary. In the process He stated that only one thing is needed – to sit at His feet and listen to Him (Luke 10:39-42).

Serving is a good thing. It is how you become great in the Kingdom of God. But listening is even more important. Of all the things that we can occupy our time with in this world, Jesus implied that listening is the most worthwhile. If listening is the only thing that is needed, then I reckon much of our time, energy and effort should be spent on developing this skill.

Jesus not only talked about the importance of listening, He demonstrated it. Once, when He was 12 years old, He went to Jerusalem with His parents to celebrate Passover. He stayed behind in the temple, after His family had left, in order to listen to the teachers and asked them questions (Luke 2:41-46). He called this being occupied with His Father’s business. So listening is the way to be occupied with the Father’s business. We see that the fruit of listening, in Jesus’ life, was that He grew in wisdom and maturity and in favour with God and man (Luke 2:52).

Many people want to do the things that Jesus did – they want to walk in the same anointing and power that He walked in. They want to preach to the multitudes, cast out devils, heal the sick and raise the dead. Those are good desires. In fact, Jesus said that we would do the same things that He did, and even greater things, if we believe in Him. But we forget that Jesus only started doing all of those things – He only started His ministry – when He was 30 years old. He spent 30 years listening and learning, so that He could grow in wisdom and maturity.

Wisdom and maturity are more of a key to victory than anointing, miracle-working power, supernatural manifestations etc. We should follow Jesus’ example and invest most of our time, energy and effort into personal growth, development and maturity. Then we will be able to handle the anointing and gifting God entrusts us with. Preparation time is never wasted time.

Peter Martin- After reading “The Art of Listening” by Paul Godawa