Grow Deep - Spiritual Conversations Edition - Week 2

Week 2: February 9-15

Listen Up!

Memory Verse: “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak.” James 1:19 ESV

I heard it again a few days ago. It wasn’t the first time, and it probably won’t be the last time. What did I hear? “You are not listening.” Listening is hard work. You have to pay attention; you have to go deeper than just hearing words to the meaning of those words. But sometimes your mind wanders, you lose focus, you think about what you will say next instead. The result is that you don’t really understand what the other person is saying—you aren’t listening. There is a difference between hearing and listening. Hearing, says one psychologist, is like collecting data. It is rather simple and basic. Listening is different. It involves not only hearing the spoken words, but also understanding what those words mean.

God encourages both hearing and listening. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son….” God speaks to us in the person and work of His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He saves us. We live in His grace. We are stewards of that grace in our lives and in the lives of those around us. He is gracious to us and asks us to demonstrate that grace to our neighbor in what we say and do. (Luke 10:27)

God asks us to be in conversation (speaking and listening) with our neighbors. We are to love them, care for them, bring them the Good News of Jesus. We are to listen—really listen—to them. As you go about listening, consider these words by Roy Bennett, “Listen with curiosity…. The greatest problem with communication is we don’t listen to understand. We listen to reply. When we listen with curiosity, we don’t listen with the intent to reply. We listen for what’s behind the words.”

Sunday, February 9
Read: Psalm 34:6
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.” ESV
Reflect: God hears our prayers and promises to answer them. How has God answered your prayers today? How is God’s promise in this passage of great comfort to you?

Monday, February 10
Read: James 1:19
“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak.” ESV
Reflect: We are encouraged to be good listeners. Why is listening sometimes more important than speaking? Listening is hard work. How can you practice listening more and speaking less today?

Tuesday, February 11
Read: Proverbs 18:13
“If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame.” ESV
Reflect: The wisdom of this passage suggests that it is foolish to offer an answer before you hear the question. What is the danger of speaking too soon? What is gained by listening with the heart rather than listening with just the ears?

Wednesday, February 12
Read: 1 John 3:17
“If anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?” ESV
Reflect: God calls us to see the needs of our neighbor and help where we can. Why is it so important, when considering needs, to really listen when our neighbor speaks? What is the greatest need your neighbors have? What are some ways you can help address that need?

Thursday, February 13
Read: John 10:27
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” ESV
Reflect: We hear many voices in our hectic world today. Some of them are helpful, some are not. How can you be sure you are listening to the right voice? How can you better follow Jesus today? What comfort do you find in knowing that Jesus knows you?

Friday, February 14
Read: Revelation 3:20
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” ESV
Reflect: God comes to us in Word and Sacraments. He asks us to listen to His life-giving words. How can you more effectively hear God’s voice in your life? How is knowing that God desires to be in conversation with you make a difference in your prayer life?

Saturday, February 15
Read: Psalm 46:10
“Be still, and know that I am God.” ESV
Reflect: Martin Luther says that in Psalm 46 we see how “God miraculously preserves His Word and Christendom against the gates of hell, against the rage of the devil, the rebellious spirits, the world, the flesh, sin, death.” Sit quietly and reflect on all that God has done for you both physically and spiritually.