This thought has been incredibly evident in my life lately. I love so much more when I listen.
“Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for other Christians is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives us God’s Word, but also lends us God’s ear.
We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them. So often Christians, especially preachers, think that their only service is always to have to “offer” something when they are together with other people. They forget that listening can be a greater service than speaking. Many people seek a sympathetic ear and do not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking even when they should be listening. But Christians who can no longer listen to one another will soon no longer be listening to God either; they will always be talking even in the presence of God. The death of the spiritual life starts here, and in the end there is nothing left but empty spiritual chatter and clerical condescension which chokes on pious words. Those who cannot listen long and patiently will always be talking past others, and finally no longer will even notice it. Those who think their time is too precious to spend listening will never really have time for God and others, but only for themselves and for their own words and plans.”
–Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
Via Take Your Vitamin Z
I am grateful to have a blog.
As I go through my day, I think of things I could say here. The temptation has struck me very recently to complain through this venue. Fear of man prevented me from doing this, as I want to make a good impression on anyone who may stumble upon any of these writings. But as I thought on what I can say here the Lord convicted me, not only of my fear of man, but also of my lack of faith. I was tempted to complain about loneliness. God, in His mercy, prevented me from voicing this in the way that I wanted to. So now I speak about it not as complaining, but as confession.
I wanted to go to a concert and I didn’t want to go alone. I asked a number of people and they all had reasons not to come. I was hurt. Satan whispered “No one wants to spend time with you. You’re not interesting. You’re not valuable. They like spending time with other people more than you. You’re always second choice, or probably lower for most people. No one really enjoys spending time with you.” The devil knows where I struggle. The half truths wedge themselves in my brain and I felt miserable. But God is faithful.
I praise God that in the midst of this, He was there. I knew He wanted me for Himself. But I chose to continue pursuing the company of other people, only to encounter more disappointment and pain.
The concert was great. The songs were so filled with truth, and the central theme was the fear of man. The music was phenomenal and made me want to be in a band (as concerts usually do). I talked with a bunch of folks from BBC who were also at the concert, which was really good, and then watched some of The Return of the King with Matt. While all that stuff was good and made me feel better, it missed the point. The point was that I sought satisfaction in other people and didn’t listen to God when He tried to point me toward Himself.
I didn’t listen when He said “come be with Me. I’m all you need. Rest in Me. I love you so much. I love you so much I died for you. I didn’t need to. It doesn’t matter that you are awkward or kooky, that’s the way I made you. I love the real you, not the super christian you have in your mind. And I am worth knowing. I am the Creator of the Universe. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I AM …and I love you”
I’m listening now.