Proverbs 19:20-21: “Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

Cats can hear everything! Maya, our pet, can determine by the sound of the engine who is coming home. In comparison, human ears are not as well-equipped. While cats hear sounds about as low as humans, they can hear much higher pitches than we can, and their range goes even above that of dogs.

Even if we had catlike ears, the question is, would we take advantage of our enhanced hearing? Here is another question for you: How easy is it to listen? The talkers among us will probably say it’s easier to talk than to listen. But what about the people who don’t like to talk? Do introverts have an advantage over extroverts when it comes to listening? Perhaps – but keeping silent doesn’t necessarily mean that a person keeps listening. Our thought life has a profound impact on our listening skills, maybe more than we want to admit.

I googled synonyms for the word “listen”, and here goes:

Give one’s attention to a sound, pay attention to, take heed of, heed, take notice of, take note of, mindmark, bear in mind, take into consideration, take into account, tune into

We can drown out God’s voice with our own – the voices in our head and our busy mouth; but we are missing out if we do. There is a world of knowledge and wisdom available to us if we are curious enough to take the time to stop and soak it up. God is not silent. He speaks; He communicates to us in many different ways; He speaks to our hearts.

The art of silence that takes the things of God into account has a profound impact on our lives. And who would have guessed – honing our listening skills with God also upgrades our people skills. We take the time to listen, we find that we have a better understanding of the person next to us.

In a world that’s deeply divided with angry voices competing for our attention, paradoxically, listeners who don’t join the angry choir but lend an unbiased ear have a far better reception. Listeners make this world a better place. Their wisdom contributes to solving the most tricky problems. Listeners promote peace.

Let’s take a mouth break, shall we? Let’s take time to listen today.

“And in the naked light I saw Ten thousand people, maybe more. People talking without speaking, People hearing without listening, People writing songs that voices never share And no one dared Disturb the sound of silence.”    Paul Simon

Romans 10:17: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.”

Before communication comes listening, otherwise two parties are just blaring sounds at each other. A communication meltdown happens when either party is no longer paying attention to one another. We call that the death of any relationship when this situation arises and continues on an ongoing basis.

Death of relationships is sad, very sad. Gathering the broken pieces of a dead relationship and resurrect a friendship is exactly what God has been pursuing with mankind – by addressing the world with His words and actions. Paying attention to His communication efforts is crucial. We watch God’s body language as we look up to His Son Jesus; and listening to His still small voice we receive His Word. That’s fundamentally what faith is all about. Faith is resurrecting communication with God and restoring a lost family relationship – we are all children of the Most High who have initially lost touch with Heaven, although we can find Him if we’re open and willing to listen. Listening, we will find God and discover that we’re found in Him.

Matthew 4:4: “But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Luke 1:28-29: “Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!’ Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.”

Is it possible that the Lord is with you, and you’re unaware?  Mary could not make a lot of sense of angel Gabriel’s greeting. She was shocked both by his appearance and the way he greeted her. An unassuming teenage girl, the words: “Favored woman – the Lord is with you” seemed out of proportion. Evidently, the way Mary viewed herself did not match how the angel viewed her – or how God viewed her for that matter. Sounds familiar? Self-awareness is a most tricky thing.

Unaware of ourselves on the day we were born, we first become self-aware as toddlers.  Lewis and Brooks-Gun conducted some interesting research in 1979 when they applied a red dot to an infant’s nose and then held the child up to a mirror. About 25 percent of the infants between 15 and 18 months showed some self-awareness as they reached for their noses instead for the mirror to examine the red dot in their face. In comparison, the percentage increased to 70 percent when the children were 21 to 24 months old.

While self-awareness is certainly age-related, spiritual awareness isn’t. It’s the moment we notice God for the very first time when we become spiritually aware. God on the other hand has never taken His eyes off of us, from the moment of our conception right up to the present time, as King David prayed so eloquently (Psalm 139:13-16):

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.”

How freeing it is to understand that we are priceless in the eyes of God – without having to lift a finger! God cherishes us, regardless how we feel about ourselves. This is the truth that sets us free; however, we won’t know the truth, unless we listen.

Mary listened to what angels, prophets, and shepherds had to say and thoroughly worked through their message in her mind. We need to do the same. Whenever God speaks to us, we do well to let the message sink in. God still speaks today. He speaks to you and me. We only need to take notice.

Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.” Deuteronomy 6:4