This reminder from scripture is important for us today with twitter, email on demand, etc. . . .that infringe on our ability to listen to the people who are actually talking to us,. . or our pastor. . . or our spouse (ouch).
Similar to this command, but a little different, I wanted to talk about watching WHAT we listen to more carefully.
I was listening to a podcast (ironic?) by one of my favorite sports-writers. He's The Sports Guy from ESPN, and he was interviewing Marc Cuban, one of the smartest businessmen out there right now. They were talking about how the sports news cycle is so voluminous that everyone has a blog, everyone is taking shots at him (the owner of the Dallas Mavericks), and anyone can basically say anything that they want.
He had a really good point: It's important to filter through the information that we could consume and give attention to. . . . and discern which information (blog, website, book, album) matters at all. In his case, there were some people he didn't need to listen to, or follow on twitter no matter what they said about him, because they had 5 listeners and they weren't known or influential at all.
This is true in the church as well. . . .but for different reasons.
We live in a day where you can listen to any theological point of view that you'd like to, on demand, at any time, from anywhere in the world. It was not always this way, it used to be that your local pastor and local church were the main source of theological and practical instruction in your life.
This is a good thing, it's great that we can learn from great teachers around the globe. But, the sheer amount of information and divergence of opinions can be paralyzing, numbing, and hurtful, spiritually.
We need to be careful to what we're listening to. You can evaluate that which you listen to in light of the Bible and your own study of the word. You can also research and see what the critiques are of a certain view.
But, also. . . you can just choose to not listen to someone. You can choose not to consume some theological information. Perhaps you're even in a season that a certain good theological training isn't what you need right now. How was the pastor on the internet to know? He was in London! :)
Now, this takes discernment and community to help you know what you need. But, don't fall for the trap of over-consumption or trying to always find what's "new" that's out there. Be patient with bible teachers. Time will help to show which one's are worth your time.