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Listening is the Art of Hearing (Luke 8:18)
Pay close attention to how you hear
"Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen; I will be exalted in the earth" (Psalm 46:10 KJV).
"Take heed therefore how ye hear; for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have" (Luke 8:18 KJV).
"Be careful therefore how you listen, for to him who has will more be given, and from him who does not have even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away" (Luke 8:18 AMP).
"Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him" (Luke 8:18 NIV).
Not paying close attention to the point of not hearing, is deflective listening. What is being heard is being rejected as not worth paying close attention to.
The Greek word for heed is blepo pronounced blep-o which means to look at, behold, beware, perceive, regard, and see.
The Greek word for hear is akouo pronounced ak-oo-o which means to give audience, come to the ears.
Jesus begins the verse in (Luke 8:18 KJV) with take heed; pay close attention to what is being said. Give it your undivided attention. In order to listen we must be quiet, in order to hear, and discern what is being said, what is meant by it and how it is meant, what is the attitude of heart, and how can I apply it to my living.
Heed to observe, pay attention to, take notice of
Hear to perceive, distinguish sound, to interpret sound
Listen take note, pay attention
If you notice today, many Christians carry their bibles and notebooks in anticipation, and preparation for the spoken Word, through the pastor or teacher. Anticipation precedes hearing, and the preparation of the heart is to listen to what the Spirit will speak through the speaker. The Holy Spirit should be the voice who is speaking through them all the time. Our spirits bear witness, and deem it a privilege to be an instrument for these purposes of correction, instruction, and the reproof designed by God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV). If hearing is operative faith is going to arise.
Why should we hear? To develop and nurture faith which comes by hearing, and to understand what God wants us to understand about Him as we receive instructions of His will through the Word, and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Are hearing, and listening the same?
No! The ear is designed to hear sounds, voices, anything audible. But through the transformation process we learn to listen. I perceive listening to be an acquired state, something I had to learn to do and I am still learning to do. Something can be heard without listening to the imperatives of what is spoken. Listening is an art, which gets very little or sometimes no attention. One in which how you hear is just as vital as what you hear.
Listening is integral, and vital in transforming the intellect/mind to adhere to the principles of the Word of God. Not listening is also a barrier, which can obstruct, and destroy the success of the thought processes. Listening is one of the ways we renew our minds, as we are instructed to in (Romans 12).
Hearing fundamentally affects our minds, what we hear helps our thinking process to decipher and understand information, which is why, how we hear, is just as vital as what we hear. How meaning, what is the posture and approach used. Will we hear with respect of persons? Will we be a forgetful hearer or dull of hearing? Will we listen and allow the truth to penetrate and permeate our souls? Or will we resist? How we hear will ultimately determine if we will be obedient.
Intend to hear; don't pretend to hear
Intentional listening is hearing with a purpose, reason, aim, determination and motive.
Intentional listening is hearing on purpose or purposing to hear. It is the aim and goal we set for studying and inclining our hearts and souls to ascertain what God is desirous that we should understand for our whole and holistic good.
Everything that the Holy Spirit says is note-worthy, meaning it is worth taking note of. When I was attending Church in Brooklyn, New York in the early eighties, 85% of the congregation carried note books which were used during the teaching of the Word for taking notes, even if you picked up the tape, you still took notes. The pastor was an anointed teacher and encouraged being teachable. This mind-set and attitude is indicative that anticipation and expectancy was in full operation. It is because I took notes and currently take notes that there is always activity in my mind in a new and living way. The notes lead to longevity as well as long conversations with God in my own personal devotion and the inspiration to record and write what is understood. Even if you just write down the scripture verses, the Lord can later reveal what He wants you to know.
Notes reinforce what you have heard and are hearing. Later in this writing, in the definition for listen, we will see that one of the meanings given is to take notes. In school it was essential to take your own notes to better understand the lesson and to aid in study. We are disciples, and hearing and listening are two disciplinary measures which cannot be denied and must be utilized in order to activate our faith and to be empowered to become the doers of the Word as well, in every area of our lives.
There are so many aspects of our lives where the principles of the Word of God have to undo wrong thinking, speaking, actions, and intents of the heart, deeds and patterns. Listening for the instructions we need personally as well as collectively will decide the success of our destiny. Have you ever been given instructions to go somewhere and you thought you heard them correctly, yet you end up going the wrong place at the wrong time. You probably reasoned in retrospect, if I had only wrote the instructions down it would have reinforced me arriving at the right place and at the right time. We hear in part, the full scope of what is being spoken and heard may need to be researched for better understanding. In those moments our note-worthy references frame our understandings and protect us from error.
Choose to hear without respect of persons
Selective listening is hearing with regards to who is speaking or selectively deciding who should be heard. Is it someone who is liked by us wherein liking them qualifies whether we will listen and give our full attention. Or will we turn off our hearing and focus elsewhere and derisively ignore who is speaking. In all selective listening we are only hurting ourselves by not giving ear to what the Spirit could be saying through even the selective listening process.
Hearing is a special and unique part of our beings and I know we all appreciate the fact that we can physically hear, as there are some who do not possess the sense of hearing because they are deaf and they were either born that way or it happened along life’s journey. Listening is truly an art, skill and a knack and it is the applause and appreciation of hearing. To listen takes a special ability. Focus with me on the greatest listener of all, God. This is when listening takes on a whole new meaning. When I think about the way, and precision in which God listens it quickens me and the lights come on in my being. Now that is a wow and oh my moment. With the revelation that God hears and listens, it does awaken in me the discipline of hearing and listening to others and how it is a sign of respect for what others have to say. Of course, discernment in listening is important too.
Just fathom for a moment personally, the Creator of the universe hears me when I speak, doesn’t that give you peace and a sense of real value. If we value others we will listen. We have selective patterns that we use to decide who we value enough to hear them out. Selective patterns are choosy configurations of hearing and are liken to hearing with respect of persons. Listening is a disciplinary measure that will always bring success in future endeavors.
Listening brings prosperity to thinking and blessings for us that we haven’t even come to know. The key thing I am learning about listening is being quiet. It is interesting that we can’t listen and speak at the same time. It is a coordination that involves discipline. We learn throughout our lifetimes that when someone is speaking, we are to be quiet and listen as a sign of respect. We learn it is rude to speak while someone else is speaking, to hear them out. Hearing them out doesn’t mean we are listening. Have you ever experienced the quietness of God when you were seeking an answer? You ever wondered if He heard you because of silence. He listens and is teaching at those moments, how we are to listen, quietly.
Living alone you have a tendency to talk to yourself a little more than you should; the thing I am learning is that if I believe that God is always present, when am I really talking to myself? Yet a lot of the time it is me talking out loud, and He listens, then He speaks and I listen, then I write what I hear. It is a personal conversation, yet it is never earthbound these conversations are always in heaven where He resides. There is continuous fellowship that takes place experientially. I don’t know what I would do if it were not for God. He grants me peace in what appears to be solitude, but is really a personal relationship, spirit to spirit and heart to heart.
“But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJV).
Change is inevitable
Inflectional listening involves changing, modulating, adjusting and modifying the way we hear, it is also an aspect of the transformation process, meaning it is part of renewing our minds, so that we hear in a new and living way. It means we have determined that listening is crucial and essential to spiritual growth. Inflectional listening is reparative and reparatory, it suggests that a change in how we hear is optional, but obtainable.
Transformation is the process of change; it is a metamorphosis, just as the caterpillar turns into a beautiful butterfly, we change into who and what God preordained we should be. It is continuous, just as hearing is progressive. You don’t just hear something one time and completely know what it means or what is it instructs. Only in distinguishing sounds can we know that we have heard it before.
If you hear a bell ringing, 9 times out of 10 you can distinguish it is a ringing bell. The listening which is necessary in obeying the Word of God may require you to hear it over and over again, each time you hear it there can be a new revelation, but the same principle. It is expanded and opens up the intellect to different discoveries and points of interests.
Preachers use the inflectional techniques and aspects, which are instrumental in getting our attention by the change in pitch and loudness of the voice which alters the attitude in how they inform us of the Word of God. Preachers focus more on problems stirring us towards the solution which only can be found in God.
Teachers on the other hand arrange series of components, premises and points that makes us think and desire to be taught and endeavor to be teachable. Teachers attack problems with solution thinking. Teachers produce students who will inevitably teach as a result of being taught well. Everyone who speaks wants to be heard, yet it is a power we can use for or against others, when we decide not to heed what they are saying. Inflectional listening is a correctional kind, it is ointment for hearing.
Practically apply changing how you hear, and you will change your quality of listening. It is the medicine of hearing that produces doers of the Word who listen and are obedient.. There is prosperity in how you hear. Jesus again, admonishes to take heed how you hear. “Take heed therefore how ye hear:” (Luke 8:18a KJV). Taking heed how you hear is just as important as what you hear. Heed requires us to pay close attention and to even take notes. There are many attributes of hearing that are too important to miss.
A vast majority of our renewal process is hearing. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 KJV). The Word is always speaking to us. Faith is our trust we place in God, which this scripture is declaring that our faith comes by hearing its truths, but we must listen. The intentional purpose of listening is conforming us into the image of God, wherein scripture stresses that we should mirror Him. God is the greatest listener. It should amaze us when we think of the superior and majestic kind of listener He is. Every second of the day He hears and listens to prayers and private conversations from an innumerable count of spirits and voices crying out and aloud for answers, making petitions, interceding, and prayer as we know it. Yet He hears us and the only way He doesn’t hear us is when we can regard iniquity in our hearts. Repentance through the authority of the blood of Jesus, means Lord please forgive me and take me back.
Here is an interesting point acquired through a search for the word listen in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. I was researching the word listen in the concordance and it is listed only one time and the only scripture verse is in Isaiah 59:1. The Hebrew word given is shama pronounced shaw-mah and it means to hear intelligently, with attention, obedience, carefully, certainly consider, diligently discern, give ear to, perceive, witness. It is imperative to look at these definitions for clarity. To hear intelligently signifies that there is interaction going on in hearing that will affect the intellect in order to intelligently hear, it speaks of a mindful not a mindless or careless way of hearing. Hearing shapes how we think about matters; it directly and subsequently affects our thought life.
Deflective listening involves desiring or causing what you hear to rebound, ricochet, to turn aside, cause to turn aside; drive back, keep away, resist, repel, deviate, it is the act or state of deflecting or the state of being repelled by not taking heed or listening intently. In other words, you don’t want to hear it. Deflective hearing is a symptom of selective listening. It is the "they can't be talking to me syndrome."
To be dull of hearing is marginally and closely connected to deflective hearing. When something is dull it is dense ,and it is not sharp or keen. Listening requires alertness, and is an imperative element in how you are hearing. How you hear will also equip the aspects of the soul towards prosperity. Ultimately it is you who controls what you are willing to hear. In this writing I have been given a new attitude and posture for listening, and the important role it will always highlight is be teachable. A true sign or fruit of hearing is you are teachable. Being teachable sharpens and disciplines you to on how not to develop itching ears. Itchy ears need the cleansing of the Word and Spirit of God.
Here are some question provokers and incentives of listening:
- How we hear determines how well we listen
- The who being spoken about in what we are hearing can awaken itching ears or the spirit of intercession, it does matter what we do with what we hear, this quality can be seen in gossiping, the ears seem to become interested in the who, and what are they doing, done or otherwise. Take it to God and choose to intercede.
- The when is a primary factor, in what time frame is that to transpire, or when did that happen
- The why will assist in determining whether you desire or want to hear
- The where is the incident going to happen, where did it happen and where is it going to happen. Tenses and times are always factors in provoking listening
I pray it is of the utmost importance to your spirituality to hear to the point of listening, so that your understanding can produce prosperity for your life, and that you can do what Jesus commanded when He said, He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is saying to the Churches and we obey by taking heed how we are hearing.
Not a forgetful hearer
Reflective listening is recalling all that we hear, and reflecting on the importance that has the ability to help the soul to prosper. Reflective listening heals our hearing impairments, and is no way theoretical or hypothetical.
The notes we take as we go through life serve as a compass and navigate us forward, so that we take heed how we choose to hear. Hearing is a choice we make that aligns us to listen. To take, is a verb (used with object), to get into one's hold or possession by voluntary action.
Definition of TAKE. transitive verb. to get into one's hands or into one's possession, power, or control: as; to seize or capture physically, or in this case spiritually. Take heed, seize and possess what is necessary to hear and listen. Bring hearing into manifestation by the obedience of the will, be willing to hear God always. Grace and peace.