And God’s voice suddenly spoke from the cloud, saying, “This is my dearly loved Son, the constant focus of my delight. Listen to Him!” Matthew 17:5 (TPT)
A significant part of communicating is listening – to pay attention to or take note of what the other party is saying. According to The Skills You Need website, “Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood.” When we listen, we gain understanding and we get clear instructions. How many times have we been in a conversation with someone and they said, or we said, you are not hearing me. Stephen R. Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” In doing so, we do not actually hear or heed what the other person is conveying to us.
Listening is so important that, in Matthew 17:5, God interrupted Peter’s excitement of seeing Jesus transfigured on the mountain to tell him and the others to listen to His Son. It is interesting that rather than listening to what Jesus, Moses and Elijah were talking about (Matthew 17:3); Peter interrupted the conversation with his big idea to build three tabernacles in honor of them. If we are interrupting the speaker, it is a clear indication that we are not listening. We too do this – the Lord may speak or lay something on our hearts and we get all excited and begin to formulate our own ideas and make our own plans. Never considering or checking to see if He has more to say; never stopping for further instructions; assuming our big idea is what He wants.
In Rick Joyner’s book, The Apostolic Ministry, he says, “The Lord does not want us trying to build on our revelations, not even our revelations of who He is. When revelation comes our first response must not be to build, but to keep listening – there is much more.” Today, Jesus is interrupting our building and saying to us, listen. Listen to His Spirit. Attend to and heed instructions and directions from His Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter, and our Helper. (John 16:13-15). He has much to say, but we are too busy building to listen.
In Luke 10:38-42, while Jesus was visiting her home, Martha busied herself being a good hostess. However, Mary, her sister, sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to Him. Martha interrupted Jesus to ask Him to scold her sister for not helping. “The Lord answered her, ‘Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Are they really that important? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her.’” (vs. 41-42, TPT). This is us! This is what we do. We are so busy doing what we think is good and important at the time, that we do not even see that it is distracting us from what is most important – listening to Him.
The Passion Translation says this of Mary, “Mary sat down attentively before the Master, absorbing every revelation He shared,” (vs. 39). She stopped what she was doing and, because the scripture says she was “attentive,” she even stopped thinking about what she could be doing, and listened and received (absorbed) every Word that Jesus was saying. Can we honestly say we have been giving this level of attention to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying, or have we been just grabbing bits and pieces and trying to build with only that? As Rick Joyner said, “there is more.”
Even now, during these unprecedented, unpredictable times in the world, God is releasing Kingdom strategies to those who will take the time to hear Him. It is critical that we set aside our busyness to hear what the Spirit of the Lord has to say. It is also important that we do not direct the narrative with our list of “urgent” matters, but we permit Him to freely dispense His wisdom. We have been talking long enough, now it is time to sit and listen.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9