PUT A ZIPPER ON YOUR MOUTH AND LEARN TO LISTEN
Learning to listen to others requires much discipline, and discipline requires patience. We have gotten so use to babbling that we forgot how to listen and understand what others are saying. Now if you understood anything about those first two sentences, and are ready to listen to the words that are being spoken to you today, you might be able to walk in the newest of life and find much more joy, peace, contentment and happiness in your relationships.
Our mouth and that little thing called our tongue gets us into a world of trouble at times. If we would put a zipper on our mouth and be swift to listen and slow to speak, we can transform our lives in ways unimaginable at other times. For believers, this is a lesson you must practice daily. For non-believers, you must seek the Lord for guidance and salvation in order to begin the process, because God‘s perfect law must be put into practice in our speech. Why? Because God’s law is truth, and the law sets people free. It is only in obeying God that true freedom can be found. As Christians, we are saved by God’s grace, and salvation frees us from sin ‘s control, speaking and not listen. As believers we are free to live as God created us to live. Of course, this does not mean that we are free to do as we please.
Now let us clearly understand this one truth, and that is, we must be swift to listen and slow to speak. The expression be quick to listen is a beautiful way of capturing the idea of active listening as it is taught in (James 1:19). James explains to us that we are not simply to refrain from speaking, we are to be ready and willing to listen. This “quick” listening is obviously to be done with discernment. We are to check what we hear with God’s word. If we don’t listen both carefully and quickly, we are liable to be led into all kinds of false teaching and error.
Quick to listen and slow to speak should be taken togeter as sides of the same coin. Slowness in speaking means speaking with humility and patience, not with hasty words or nonstop gabbing. Constrant talking keeps a person from being able to hear. Wisdom is not always having something to say, it involves listening carefully, considering prayerfully, and speaking quietly. When we talk too much and listen too little, we communicate to others that we think our ideas are much more important than theirs. James wisely advises us to reverse this process. We need to put a mental stopwatch on our conversations and keep track of how much we talk and how much we listen. When people talk to us, do they feel that their viewpoints and ideas have value?
Putting a zipper on one’s mouth and learning to listen requires the same set of skills as an athlete. In order for an athlete to achieve greatest he must persevere in training in order to improve their abilities and endurance for competition, so do we persevere in spiritual training our senses to be swift to listen and slow to speak as we patiently endure testing that will bring maturity and completeness.
We must come to a point in our lives where we know that God’s long term goal for us is maturity and completeness, but his eternal goal for us is the crown of life, a rich expression of hope. We can only arrive at this point we learn to be obedient to the word of God. Know the truth and the truth will set you free. Be swift to listen and slow to speak.