Summary: How to Help People Listen More Effectively – Mark 4:20
How to Help People Listen More Effectively – Mark 4:20
Jesus said, “Others, like seed sown on good soil, HEAR the word, accept it, and produce a crop – thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.”
Jesus said, “You will know them by their fruit.”
“Be doers of the word and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” (James 1:22)
Jesus said, He who listens to you, listens to me. He who rejects you rejects me, but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me." (Luke 16:10)
We must become effective listeners if we are to remain as His disciples. (John 8:31,32)
People who know how to listen to God’s word are ones who know how to make an effort to hear what is really being said. They remain willing to obey the instructions they are given and show a yieldedness to desires of giver of life. Teachability is one of the chief qualities of a godly listener since they are available to hear what God has to say to them moment by moment as they put away distracting influences such as the worries, riches, pleasures, troubles, persecutions along with the all that is in the world, the flesh and the devil. But let us look at several important guidelines for being a more effective listener to God, to His word and to godly people.
1. Learn how to remove some of the filters we might have to learning from good communication. Many people have social-culturally conditioned screens that inhibit them from hearing all that God wants them to know. Perhaps, they have certain experiences, perspectives, beliefs, values, emotions or habits that unconsciously filter out some of the most important insights into truth. Some of the filters that many people fail to remove include: emotional barriers, psychological barriers, distrust, fear, anger, selfishness, impatience, prejudice, disinterest, judgmental attitudes, and general misunderstandings. Ask the Lord to help you to be willing to put away some of your past conditioned barriers that lessen your ability to hear all of God’s will for your life.
2. Learn how to take time to listen and reflect on what God might have you to understand from every person. Many people choose to hear only what they want to listen to. This is equivalent to those in Paul’s writing that he described as those with itching ears. Paul wrote, “Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:3-5) Failure to listen to those who may not be initially appealing will limit our ability to learn new ideas. Trust the Lord to give you the ability to always have an attitude of a true learner.
3. Be willing to listen but also to obey new things that God is teaching you. James 1:22 teaches us, “Be doers of the word (obey the message) and not merely listeners to it, betraying yourselves into deception by reasoning contrary to the Truth.” (Amplified) To many people deceive themselves into thinking that they are doing God’s will but they fail to grow in their mental ability to know truth, understand it, apply it, analyze it, synthesize new solutions to problems with it or evaluate difficult problems using its principles.
4. Learn to be attentive to the facts, emotions and applications of a speaker. The average speaker communicates only 7% of their meaning with the actual words spoken; 35% of their message is conveyed through the tone of their voice, but 58% of their meaning is exchange through non-verbal signals especially their character and conviction that comes through to the discerning listener. Ask the Lord to help you listen to more than the just words spoken by a speaker.
5. Learn to understand both the denotative (the direct, explicit meaning of the words spoken) and the connotative meanings (the suggested meaning that is associated with one’s care, conviction and passion). Great listeners are able to hear both the objective and subjective aspects of a message. Ask the Lord to give you the discernment to gain both aspects of every message you will hear. Jesus once asked Peter, “Who do men say that I am?” Peter answered some say, Elijah, some say John the Baptist. Then Jesus asked the question, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “YOU are the Christ (the anointed one, the Messiah), the Son of the living God. Then Jesus answered him, “Blessed, happy, fortunate and to be envied are you, Simon Bar Jonah. For flesh and blood (men) have not revealed this to you, but my Father Who is in heaven.” (Matt 16:14-17) We have to rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal the deeper truths of God to us. Jesus said, “When He the Spirit of truth is come He will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:13) Ask the Lord to help you rely more on Him to teach you what He wants you to learn from every message you hear.