Paul asks the Galatians twice if they had “received the Spirit, by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” and again, “does then He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?” Hearing with faith begins by listening with faith. Listening means to open up to something that is coming from outside of us. It may sound strange and disturb our mindset, or be brand new and true, or shocking, or simply false. But we have to listen to know.
True listening requires humble courage. Jesus warns, “Take care how you listen” (Or, “take heed how you hear”). We can listen in many ways. Our listening can degenerate into a filtering process that lets through only what suits us and rejects from the outside whatever does not conform to our stance and opinion. This kind of selective listening can produce narrow, opinionated and shallow hearers, if not bigots. Genuine listening implies that we not only empty ourselves to a certain degree, but also and more specifically, that we make ourselves receptive. We must avoid a certain kind of listening, one that is not in order to learn, but in order to compare ourselves with others.
“But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Jesus