From Receiving to Living

The Importance of Receptive Listening

Verse two of Proverbs 18 says, "A fool does not delight in understanding, but in revealing his own mind." I love that. You all know that guy, right? He never hears anything, but he's quick to talk and he never stops talking. There was a time in my life when people had to tell me, "Stop talking, man. Stop talking. You need to shut up and listen."

So, I read a chapter of Proverbs a day. I remember the man who encouraged me to read a proverb a day: Mr. King in 1978. So I challenge you to read a chapter in Proverbs every day. It's great practice. Unless, you can't. Somebody says: "Well I can't!", I don't know what that means. You can't read or you can't find Proverbs? That's a matter of ability, we can help you with that!

I have a hard time understanding people who can read, but don't read. That's a mystery to me. And if you can read and you don't read God's Word, well, that's a different story. See, that's a matter of “I won't”.

That's a matter of the heart. You need to change your heart, because wisdom, which is revealed in God's Word, is not reserved for those who wish, "Gee, I wish I could be wise. I wish I knew more of God's word." It's not reserved for those who hope.
"I'm hoping I get wisdom”. If you live long enough, you'll get some wisdom.

John Maxwell says,
“We should become old and wise, but sometimes old shows up alone.”

Wisdom is not reserved for those who casually seek. Solomon tells us in the Proverb today, "It is reserved for those who pursue and persevere diligently." And today we start looking at Proverbs chapter 2. Actually, in the Hebrew it's a beautiful poem, and it talks about the development of wise character, how wise character is developed, and the defense against the wicked.

I want to look at the first part today: The first five verses in Proverbs chapter 2, he says,
"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, If you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding; if you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and then you will find the knowledge of God."

Three things that Solomon tells us here in this short passage:

Number one, we must be receptive to wisdom.
Number two, we must be responsive to wisdom.
And number three, we must be resolute in pursuing wisdom.

It's actually an “if-then" proposition, right? You know, the “if-then” propositions.
If you walk off the edge of the building, then you're going to fall.

That's an “if-then” proposition. And he says, if you'll be receptive, if you'll be responsive, if you'll be resolute, THEN you will understand the fear of the Lord. THEN you will find the knowledge of God. And there's some key words that Solomon uses here in this passage:

receive, treasure, incline, apply, cry out, seek, and search.

So number one, we must be receptive if you will receive my words, he says in verse 1.

Practical Steps to Wisdom

So what's the difference between hearing advice and receiving advice? There are some people who are experts at telling, right, but not receiving. The best advice I ever received was something a man told me in 1978,
“Read something in, or about the Bible every single day.”
I received that. And all these years later I still follow that. And he told me to get a mentor or an accountability partner and receive someone.

Some wisdom, Folks:
Have a mentor. Mentor up! Have someone check your profile of God. Have someone check the path you're taking. Be accountable to someone!

There's a difference between hearing and receiving.

I heard instruction from my dad all my life. Daily, I heard instruction. Some was good, some was.. "Wow. I can't believe he said that." But the problem is, he had a terrible delivery. See, my father would start his advice with, "Are you stupid?!" See, everything after that you're not hearing; you're not really receiving anything after that. That's the way he delivered it, and so I didn't receive it. Now I look back at some of the things he said, if I can overlook how he delivered it. So, yeah, he's given me some wisdom there.

I want to share lyrics from a song with you. It's written by this guy, David Wilcox. It's called "The View from the Edge." And there's one verse where he refers to the 9/11 victims, those who were in the building before it fell. And to hear the song, it's a beautiful song, but to receive the message that he's giving you in that song. The verse goes:

“Like the ones up on the towers
Who really feel it sway
And they're dashed against the railing
And the railing breaks away
And they're hanging by the wreckage
And they feel it start to give
If they had the time to tell you
They could tell you how to live”

If at that moment, facing imminent death, they would have a perspective on life that they would tell you how to live, what's important and what's not important, at that moment. That's such a great song. It's just great wisdom when I receive that message.

Receiving is more than hearing; It's taking it to heart.

When Mr. King told me in 1978, when he baptized me, read something in or about the Bible every day, I took it to heart and I received it. In Matthew chapter 13, Jesus tells the Parable of the Sower. And it's not the nature of the seed. Jesus explains it's the nature and the character of the soil that receives the seed.

That's right. And for the soil that can receive good seed, it will yield good fruit 100-fold, He says. And what does He say for him who has ears to hear, let him hear it. You know, for years I had the right seeds, I read the right books, I went to the right conferences, I listened to the right tapes, but I had the wrong soil in my soul.

You see, I believed God's promises. I just didn't believe they were true for me.

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What does your soil look like?

How many here feel that God is all-in in their lives? God's all in, in your life. See, for so many years, I didn't believe that God was all-in on my life.

He was all-in on your life, but not my life. But if God's all-in on your life, how many of you are all-in on the life that God has given you? Because you've got a responsibility for Him being all-in. You've gotta be all-in too. Solomon says, “Treasure my commands within you.” Matthew Henry in his commentary on the Bible says, "We must hide them with us as we do our treasures, which we are afraid of being robbed of."

We must not only receive, but retain the Word of God and lodge it in our hearts, that it may be always ready for us. Again, Jesus says in Matthew 13:
“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy, he sells everything and buys that field.”

Are you all-in on what God has in for you?
The infinite value of God's wisdom is in that book.
Are you willing to dig it up?

This study was pulled from one of our sermons.

To learn more, watch the full sermon below.

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