Thursday, September 9, 2021
We are beginning an adventure that will help us become people of wisdom. How did you do with yesterday’s assignment? I hope you were disciplined and diligent to get it done. If not, go there now and start. It’s really important. We should strive to reach the point in our spiritual lives that the pursuit of wisdom transcends the pursuit of all else.
If you are ready to move forward, let’s focus on one passage of Scripture in Proverbs 22:17-21.
“ Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, 18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. 19 So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you. 20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge, 21 teaching you true and reliable words, so that you can give sound answers to him who sent you?”
If the pursuit of wisdom is going to transcend all other pursuits in life, then we need to let wisdom be transmitted to us. Proverbs 22:17 says Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach.
Sixteen times in the book of Proverbs we are told by Solomon to “listen”. I think you will agree with me that not listening is a problem in our lives. It is such a problem that it is destroying relationships and dividing churches. Consider these various levels of listening:
- We simply don’t hear what another person has said so we have to ask them to repeat it.
- We don’t hear what another person is saying and we don’t care to hear it so we don’t ask them to repeat it.
- We hear with our ears what another person is saying, and we may even give assent to it, but only to be polite. It does not really mean anything to us.
- We hear with our ears what another person is saying, but because we did not invite their input we ignore it.
- We ask for input from another person, we hear what they have to say, but we weigh its value by what we have predetermined to be our preferred outcome.
- We ask for input from another person, hear what they have to say, and agree to its value, but that agreement is simply to avoid hurting their feelings, and we do not intend to apply what they said to our lives.
- We ask for input from another person, but filter what they are saying through our misperceptions of the person or circumstances, leading us to misinterpret what was said and then blame that person for the outcome.
- We ask for input from another person, but don’t listen to the whole context of what they are saying, leading us to apply it out of context, and then blame that person for the outcome.
- We ask for input from another person, listen to it carefully, but break the confidence in which it was shared by telling it to someone else, and then blame the giver of the advice for the consequences.
- We ask for input from another person, listen carefully to what they are saying, then seek to apply any and all elements of wisdom to our lives so that it changes us.
As you can see, and have maybe experienced, listening strategies # 2 – 9 cause serious, sometimes irreparable damage to relationships and churches.
Friends, let wisdom be transmitted to you. Learn to listen with your heart, and let it modify your will. Otherwise, Satan will diminish the glory of God in you, in your relationships, and in Christ’s church.