Listening Precedes Speaking 4.19.17
It is not a new concept to understand that what you hear is what you speak. When we were new born babies, we heard many words, but we could not speak any. So, we had to learn to listen, before we could learn to speak. The same is true in the spiritual as it is in the natural. Until we learn to listen and hear clearly, we will not be able to speak clearly. Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Our level of hearing, determines our leveling of speaking. I think we can all agree on this.
Here is the challenge the body of Christ is facing, whether on Facebook, Instagram, or in pulpits and on platforms all over the world, we have people wanting to speak before they have learned to listen. This is bringing much confusion to the body of Christ and causing many to get their hopes up around what sounds like a prophetic word, but is actually just someone’s vain imagination. Jeremiah 23:16 says, “This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.” This is not just about prosperity prophecies, this is also about gloom and doom, Jesus is returning soon prophecies. People are speaking before they are listening and it is leading the body of Christ astray.
When I was 19 years old and newly saved, I had zeal without knowledge. I was ready to preach to anyone who would listen, that Jesus Christ is Lord. I do not think that evangelism like this is harmful, because the zeal is so strong that you do not care what others think about you, all you know is that you were once lost and now you are found. The challenge is, when people who have zeal but no knowledge are in our pulpits, conferences or on our news feeds. Their zeal can be contagious, but their knowledge is weak, because they have pursued speaking over listening.
When I was in my first Bible Training School, one or our Pastor said he spent 8 hours to prepare for one sermon. I remember thinking, what are you doing for 8 hours, when you only speak for 20-30 minutes? But now that I have grown up, now that I have learned the value of listening and stopped trying to be a speaker, I realize how crucial it is to listen for many hours on end and speak for very few. Solomon even said in Proverbs 17:27 “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” The less we speak, the more we know, because when you really know something, you have no need to be heard, rather you wait to see if anyone wants to hear what you have to say.
The body of Christ has been going through what I call accelerated maturity. It has been a time for those who agreed to it, to learn in a rapid way how to hear the voice of God, clearly, so they can speak the words of God, clearly. They are not taking scripture out of context to match their message; they are not slapping a verse on people’s problems; they are not pursuing a pulpit or platform; they are learning to listen to the still small voice in the secret place of the most High. They have learned wisdom, patience, timing, intimacy and authority; they are not in a hurry to make their name great, but they are prepared to make His name glorious; they went in as unbroken wild horses and are now broken power horses with a fiery love in their eyes and a word in their mouth. When they speak, demons are going to flee; the dead are going to be raised; the sick are going to be healed; relations are going to be restored; and the lost are going to come to Christ.
The leaders that are about to arise learned that listening precedes speaking; they learned that if they don’t hear clearly, they won’t speak clearly; and they learned it is not about training your mind, it is about letting the Lord heal your heart, for they know, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, not out the abundance in their head. They have been in the secret place getting a heart transplant, heart surgery and cardiovascular healing, so when they speak, there is synergy between their heart and their mouth, because they know they can only speak what they hear. God is more interested in you learning to hear His voice (which means consistently obeying what you hear), than He is in you speaking, writing a book or putting out another prophetic word. You can’t side step it, He is a God of order and learning to listen precedes speaking in the kingdom age leaders.