Many possibilities for my word of the year have been floating in and out of my mind over the last few months, but I could never land on one. Then, the word listen started coming up in much of my reading. One book discussed how humility involves listening to God then acting upon it. That resonated with me, and I began to think about listening as more of an action verb. It requires hard work. It doesn’t just happen because I’m sitting quietly. Proverbs 2 says:
“Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.”
That doesn’t exactly sound easy! However, if we follow that discipline, then:
“The Lord grants wisdom! From his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest. He is a shield to those who walk with integrity. He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him… Wise choices will watch over you. Understanding will keep you safe.”
So, after tuning our ears (aka listening) to God’s wisdom with honesty, integrity, and faithfulness, we’ll not only receive wisdom, but also common sense, knowledge, and understanding. Armed with these gifts, God protects and shields us from dishonest and evil ones:
“Wisdom will save you from evil people, from those whose words are twisted.”
And there’s more! How about confidence to know the right thing to say or do, with a little joy thrown in to boot?
“Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.”
As I begin 2020, I hope to actively listen to God’s wisdom, and be confident that he will give me the understanding I need to make wise choices, recognize truth, and become a more just, fair, and joyful person!
I also want to listen more attentively to my spouse, friends, or even strangers — resisting the urge to come up with some impressively sage advice.
Another difficult practice for me is listening to criticism or even friendly suggestions. So, in 2020 I want to listen with an open mind to those who are just trying to help or share their opinion.
I’ve also realized how important it is to listen to what’s happening in the world, then acting in a just and fair way. That could include anything from reducing my use of plastic bags to helping refugees. It just doesn’t cut it to sit on the sidelines and pontificate anymore.
I am grateful for the wise words in Proverbs 2 that assure me God will make things clear — if I will only cry out for insight and listen. Although listening originally seemed like a passive activity to me, I now realize that it requires action.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
Have you chosen a word for the year? It’s a fun exercise and can be very beneficial, so give it a try. Find someone to hold you accountable, and share your word with them.
Copyright © by Bobbi Mullins, January 1, 2020