Before Doing, We Must Listen

Our notions of what is good for Jesus are often far off.

Listening and discerning what God is saying is one of the most important areas of discipleship for any Christian. This especially applies to leaders. When we listen wrongly, the ripple effect is far-reaching.

In a classic passage from Matthew 17:1–8, we observe Peter in a hurry to advise Jesus. He attempts to do the right thing for Jesus, but instead of waiting and listening, he is too eager to make plans. God the Father rebukes him and calls him to right listening, a listening that allows the word of Jesus to do its full work and create a relaxed, un-frenetic obedience in and through him.

In the same way, God invites us to know all that we have in Jesus of Nazareth. Revering and listening to him is more important than any cause, program, or project we may be involved in. Why? Our notions of what is good for Jesus are often far off.

Leadership is not first doing things for Jesus; it is first listening to him speak and then doing what he says. Peter, James and John had to learn that they were not in charge of God’s kingdom and that it wasn’t going to unfold in their way nor according to their timetable. We too need to learn that hard lesson.

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This article originally appeared with an accompanying podcast on and is reposted here by permission.

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