Who's Listening - David Mitts

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This Week...
Wisdom and Listening
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. (James 1:5 NIV)
We have been speaking about wisdom for the last couple of weeks.  Wisdom simply defined is knowing God’s will and method in an area of life and doing it.  God is ready to give us wisdom in every area of life.  He gives it without reproach, without finding fault.  
The issue for most us though is stated a little later in chapter 1:
This you know, my beloved brethren. But let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:19-21 NAS77)
Today we are going to look at how we listen.  James under the leading of the Holy Spirit tells us to be quick to listen.  The Greek word is “tachus” from where we get the root of the description of tachycardia which means fast heart-beat.  So there is a quality to listening that is described as fast or quick.

Listen to "Who's Listening"
Typically, we think of listening as a passive quality.  So then how do we do it swiftly?  Swiftness is a quality usually connected with running. Let’s look at a reference: 1Cor 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore, I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (1Co 9:24-27)
The Apostle Paul is using the natural example of a foot race. But he is speaking of swiftness and a way of running that wins.  He is speaking about an imperishable crown that is obtained by a certain way of running in the race of life. The Apostle ties it to temperance or self-control.  Over what?  He references his natural body but his main reference is to uncertainty.  Uncertainty is what happens when we don’t have a listening ear to hear the direction of the Lord.  The goal is a crown or an authority in a realm of our destiny.  How we listen affects what is possible for our destiny. There is an attitude of being swift that opens us possibility and destiny and allows us to run with certainty and be temperate or disciplined.
Think of a time when you had trust in the words of an authority in your life, maybe a coach or a teacher or a parent.  You BELIEVED!  This made your listening swift.
The opposite is to be quick to speak and quick to anger.  Why?  What is the source of rash speaking?
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. (Proverbs 13:3 NIV)
Proverbs work in contrast or in pairs. So the first part is the key to solving the second part.  So, guarding our lips is the key to preserving our lives and thus avoiding rash talk and ruin.  So then unguarded lips becomes rash talk and anger.  Now the question is how do we listen in such a way that pour lips are guarded?
The key is to guard our heart.
Let’s look at another Proverb: 4:23-24
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:23-24 NIV)
Another translation: Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you. (Proverbs 4:23-24 NASB)
The word translated issue or springs is the Hebrew word totsaah.  It means literally boundaries or borders.  So another way to translate this verse is to guard your heart because it establishes the boundaries or borders of our lives.  This means literally that our beliefs generate boundaries that we will not exceed.
These boundaries, in turn become limitations to what we expect in life and BELIEVE for.
So then the question is how or what influences our boundaries?  Are there God-given boundaries that impact our listening and therefore our faith and how our life looks?

The Lord will show us the boundaries of our heart.  Today we will press in for the boundaries by asking Him what limiting beliefs are shaping our lives?  Then we will ask what have they cost us? What opportunities have we missed or relationships that have been damaged NOT because we wanted them hurt but because a limiting belief, a boundary was threatened.  Then we will ask the Lord for a picture of what our life could be without that limiting belief.  Your partner will then come into agreement and pray a prophetic blessing into that vision.


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