Good conversation is a matter of listening. When Christians, filled with the Holy Spirit, listen, they listen on three levels:
- They listen to what words are being said.
- They listen to what the person really means by those words.
- And, they listen to the voice of the Spirit within who is giving illumination to their hearing.
Often while sitting in conversations, certain phrases I’ve heard take on sudden significance. What the talker meant by his or her casual expression was deeper than he or she intended to convey. The Spirit has given me knowledge totally apart from the words which were just expressed. Unexpectedly I have come to know some information about this personality; perhaps it is a fear, or a problem, or the source of the problem. The next step is to ask God for spiritual wisdom as to what must be done with this information. Am I to confront? Am I to keep quiet and only pray? Am I to wait for more data in order to form a fuller understanding? Am I to reach out in compassionate love?
This complicated capacity for listening deeply cannot be developed apart from learning to listen to the Lord in structured, uninterrupted moments. In order to hear His voice we must remove ourselves regularly from the busy, overly active, exciting, troublesome outside world Contemplation, the fastening of one’s mind on one’s Creator is the only method by which we can properly develop this interior silence and openness to the spirit.
This lesson was pressed home to me by a godly woman who once stayed in our home. “You know,” she explained, “we take all sorts of time talking to God, but we never take time to listen to Him.”
For decades, Karen Mains and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This microfinance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
In addition, pastors will find special resources to help them create effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.