Be Quick to Listen
James 1:19 (NLT) states, "My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry."
Why would God want us to be "quick to listen?"
As I practically think of the importance of listening, I can think of a few reasons why I want my children to listen to me. First and foremost, IF THEY DON'T LISTEN TO ME, THEY COULD GET HURT. For instance, if the family is walking to the back of our condo building towards the pool and I see that my daughter is about to step on an anthill, I would probably say, "Stop!" If my daughter does not listen to me, then she might get attacked by ants! That would definitely hurt! In the same way, when God speaks to us, He desires to protect us from harm. Proverbs 1:33 states, "But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil."
Another reason I like my children to listen is so that THEY CAN GAIN WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE. I desire my children to be as smart as they are capable. If they don't listen to the stories I read, the Bible lessons I teach, the academic lessons I teach them, then they may not be able to know what they need to know when something takes place where they need that knowledge. If they don't listen to me tell them how to find 2 + 2, then they will never learn 2 ÷ 2. In the same way, God desires us to gain knowledge and wisdom. Proverbs 2: 1-2, & 5-6 state, "My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding."
I also like my children to listen so that they can be obedient. Obedience is one way to show respect. When my children are obedient, my desire is to reward them. So... LISTENING EQUALS REWARD. Who doesn't like to be rewarded? Proverbs 8:32 states, "Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways." Revelation 22:12 states, "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work."
As we can see, listening is a skill that will benefit us in many ways. The first question to ask is... Am I listening to God? The answer cannot possibly be “yes” if we do not take the time to read what He has to say in the Bible. So... the first step is making Him a priority in our lives by taking the time to read His Word. If we do take the time to read His Word... is it going in one ear and out the other, or are we listening to what He is saying to us on a daily basis? If not, maybe we can take a step in the right direction and write down one thing He says to us each day. Then carry it around with us all day so that we can be reminded to practice it! By doing this, we WILL gain wisdom and knowledge. Finally, when the Lord asks us to do something, we can "obey right away, without delay!" This will surely bring us blessing upon blessing and promised rewards from our loving Father!
These verses sum it up pretty well...
Psalm 81:10-16 states, "I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. But My people would not heed My voice, And Israel would have none of Me. So I gave them over to their own stubborn heart, to walk in their own counsels. Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies... He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat; and with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you."