Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

Today I am getting back to my study in the book of James. The verses I'm focusing in on are 19-21 which say,
"My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, for a man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you".
James is speaking to believers here, which shows by him calling us "brothers".
I'm sure most of us have heard the expression, "God gave you one mouth, but two ears". James is reinforcing that by telling us that we all need to put listening into practice, more so than talking.
In the OT book of Ecclesiastes chapter 3, there's a familiar passage that was actually turned into a song in the late 60's which starts off saying, "There is a time for everything". Verse 7 says, "a time to be silent, and a time to speak".
To be an effective Christian, we need to exude the same characteristics that Jesus did - some will say, ' I can't do that because I'm not perfect' - once we become believers in Jesus, his Holy Spirit is imparted into us, and we can, by the power of the Spirit, put into practice all the divine qualities of the Lord; we just have to be humble and willing to allow him to do so.
Jesus listened; he frequently asked, "What do you want me to do for you"? This is how we should approach those who aren't believers, but have questions and the desire to know the truth.
If you are one that is quick to become angry, what kind of message is that going to send to an unbeliever? James tells us that it doesn't bring about the righteous life that God has laid out for us; he says we are to GET RID OF anger, as well as other moral filth and evil that surrounds us and tempts us on a daily basis. Spending time in prayer and in the Word of God will bring deliverance to us from these things.
There have been times when I've been very quick to become angry, and once I open the door to that, things just get uglier and leave me feeling wretched. One of my prayers throughout my adult life is to be more at peace and tolerant with people when they say or do things that "push my buttons".
May the Peace of the Lord Jesus be yours today - may we all strive to reach out to someone who needs a shoulder to cry on; a listening ear.


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