He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Proverbs 15:31 (NIV)
Those words are troubling to me. What words are those? Those first three words, “He who listens” are bothering me. Why is that? I’m pretty sure that I’m not a good listener. I’m a much better talker than a listener. Maybe, I’m not very good at either. But, I do know that I talk a lot when I should be listening more. You can learn much more by listening, than you can by talking. Thinking about what you are going to say rather than carefully listening is not a good habit. I know. That has been my standard operating procedure. Why do you think that is? Do you think what you want to say is more important than what others have to say? That must be it. My own pride has made me more of a talker than a listener. Sometimes, I talk so much I’m sure others must feel that they can’t get a word in edge wise. That’s not good. I know it’s not. Do you want to learn to listen better to others? Do you want to listen more attentively to me? Yes, I want to listen better to others. Yes, I want to listen more attentively to you. That’s good.
You can’t be a poor listener to others and a good listener to me. Those two don’t go together at all. I will remind you that I do often speak into your life through the voices of others. You need to listen very carefully to whatever is being said to you. Don’t be so full of yourself that you cannot hear others or me speaking to you. You need to remember that you don’t know it all. You need to know that you don’t see it all. Others will know and see what you don’t or can’t know or see. You have asked for my wisdom. You have sought my instruction. You want me to lead and guide your life. Yes, I want all these things from you. Then stop being defensive. Be open. Be receptive. Be humble. Be listening. Expect that I will use others to speak into your life. Considering deeply all that is being said to you.
Don’t think that everything you hear will be pleasant and easy to receive. Some of what you hear will be difficult and painful and challenging. Some of what you hear may cut you to the core. Don’t dismiss hard words and painful rebukes as not coming from me. Some of these words will be life giving rebukes that you must hear and receive if you want to grow wise. Will you listen to life giving rebukes so that you will grow wise? Yes Lord, I will.
Lord, I have not been receptive to life-giving rebukes. I have stubbornly refused to listen. I have thought that I was under attack and raised my defenses. I have resisted your speaking into my life. Forgive me. Now, I will listen to all that you want to say to me. Amen
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