Thursday, 25 September 2014

Listening versus hearing

I had an album playing on my phone this morning when suddenly I noticed a song that seemed new. It struck me as being odd, because I had "heard" this album a few times before, but had never noticed this particular song. Then it struck me - we are often hearing things, but we seldom listen to what is being said.

You may be wondering if there is actually a difference between 'hearing' and 'listening' - I think there is a massive difference. And auditory neuroscientist, Seth S. Horowitz, would agree with me. He argues that the difference between the two lies in one thing - attention. Hearing is a 'passive' thing and our brain/ears can hear many things during the day, but 'listening' is an active exercise that requires focus. This explains why many of us men can "hear" the instruction to stop shouting at the Referee on the TV, but we choose not to listen :)

So, in terms of our spiritual lives, the challenge lies in not just hearing God's word or the promptings of the Spirit, but to actually pay attention to what is being said - that is true listening.

Luke 8:18 -  “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.”

1 Samuel 3:10 - And the Lord came and called as before, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel replied, “Speak, your servant is listening.”

 Luke 10:39 -  Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.

Take some time out today to LISTEN to the voice of God.

Living in Grace

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