One of my greatest weaknesses is listening. This is likely due to my intense nature, completely focused on what I am doing. I must confess that when I meet someone for the first time, I rarely remember new names. Instead of taking off my blinders to pay attention to this individual, my mind is still fixated on what I’m doing or what I’m about to do. Therefore, shut up and listen is directed at my own life, but you may have a similar issue or struggle.
Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10
Whether you’re a child sitting at a lunchroom table in school or an adult meeting new people at a social gathering, you’ll find a few people who will try to dominate the topic of conversation. If you listen intently, you may even hear two individuals wrestle for control, trying to one up the other. From time to time, I refer to this as a pissing match. This occurs when two or more talkers try to convince the group or table who’s the best or wisest.
There he came to a cave and lodged in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah? 10 He replied, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 11 And He said, Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord. And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire [a sound of gentle stillness and] a still, small voice, 1 Kings 19:9-12.
When God places me into humbling situations, I tend to shut down socially. I may feel compelled to speak, but I usually spend the rest of the day listening and observing others. If you get too carried away talking, you may miss the lesson God is trying to teach you through disappointment and failure. Although I rarely have something special like Elijah happen to me, when I open the Bible to study, God’s still small voice in the form of the Holy Spirit pierces my heart and rings my ears. When I shut up and listen for a minute, I’m always amazed by what the Lord teaches me by simply reading the Bible.
by Jay Mankus