“I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you’ve picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong” (Hebrews 5:11-14 MSG)
To listen means ‘to pay attention to something being said’, ‘to obey’, ‘to catch’, ‘to concentrate’, ‘to tune in’, ‘to observe’, ‘to hear and pay attention’. Listening is different from hearing in that, hearing is more passive and requires little effort. Merely hearing has very little attached to it besides receiving sound vibrations. Listening is hearing plus paying attention with the aim of getting maximum benefit from what is being heard. Listening is purposeful hearing.
People with bad listening habits undermine their own growth and development. Listening well is so crucial in all realms of personal development.
When you attend any meeting especially meetings in the house of God, it is very important that you listen to what is being said and taught. Our opening verse shows us that some of God’s people have picked up a bad habit of not listening when they go to the house of God.
This bad habit of not listening has serious repercussions on them especially with respect to their spiritual growth and development. It is hard to get anything across to people who do not listen. Until you listen and listen well, you are unable to understand the Word of God as you should and this has an adverse effect on your spiritual growth and more so, on the quality of life you live.
The Bible says in the 82nd Psalm that people who lack understanding will continue to walk in darkness. “They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.” (Psalms 82:5). The first step however in gaining spiritual understanding is giving the Word of God your attention. The man who will not listen well will not understand well.
“My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 KJV)
The Effects of Not Listening
- You make it hard for your man of God to get anything across to you.
- You are unable to receive spiritual understanding.
- You become slothful in achieving spiritual insight.
Concerning this we have much to say which is hard to explain, since you have become dull in your [spiritual] hearing and sluggish [even slothful in achieving spiritual insight]. (Hebrews 5:11 AMP)
- You are unable to develop spiritually.
- You are unable to become a teacher in the house of God.
- You are unable to make progress in life.
This is because you keep needing to have someone go over the basics with you and start you out from square one. In effect, you take one step forward and one step backward.
- You are unable to go on to the greater truths of the kingdom of God.
- You will remain inexperienced in God’s ways.
The difference between the wise and the unwise is evident by their listening habits. The Bible says, “a wise person will listen and continue to learn, and an understanding person will gain direction” (Proverbs 1:5 GW). The Greek word translated ‘listen’ is “shama’ which means to hear intelligently, to hear attentively, to discern, and to make an effort to understand. The wise hear intelligently but the unwise do not.
Decide from today to give the Word of God rapt attention. Don’t take up the bad habit of not listening and not paying attention. Be one who gains maximum benefit from the Word of God because of the manner in which tune in, observe, concentrate and catch revelations from you man of God.