Congratulations! You have made it through the first week of spiritual boot camp. I hope digging into James and spending time in prayer is helping your grow in your faith and most important is helping you draw closer to the Lord.
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 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.
There is so much packed into verse 19. First of all it says “take note of this”. We know that everything in God’s Word is to help us live our lives well but we are told what comes next is especially important and we are to make sure we “take note” of it. The first thing it says in verse 19 is “everyone should be quick to listen”. How often are you quick to listen? We are much more likely to be quick to speak versus quick to listen. When you are having an argument or heated discussion with someone are you listening to what they are saying or are you planning out your response?
In addition to being “quick to listen”, we are to be “slow to speak”. The Greek word for “slow” is means “cautious, deliberate, not in knee-jerk reactionary fashion”. Being slow to speak means more than simply being slow to respond but to think about what you are going to say and being cautious with your choice of words and not simply reacting to what has been said to you. Are you slow to speak in this way or do you regularly put your foot in your mouth?
It also says we are to be “slow to become angry”. I did a Bible study this year called “Having a Mary Spirit” by Joanna Weaver and she talked about the fact that we choose to be offended. When someone says something to us, we have a choice on whether or not we are offended by it. If we are “slow to become angry” we will be making the choice not to be offended and it will certainly impact the rest of the conversation. This is described in verse 20 “human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.”
The final verse talks about getting rid of “moral filth and evil” and instead “humbly accepting the word. We need to humbly accept God’s Word and His truth in our lives. The Greek word for humbly is prautes. “Prautes is not readily expressed in English. It is a condition of mind and heart which demonstrates gentleness, not in weakness but in power. It is a balance born in strength of character”
When you look back over this week, have there been times when you have not been quick to listen? Have you, instead, been quick to speak? Have you reacted in anger? Seek forgiveness from the Lord and from anyone who you may have hurt or offended with your words. Do you humbly accept God’s Word? What parts of your character need to be strengthened? Ask the Lord to reveal areas of your character that need to be submitted to Him and His ways.
- Scripture references from http://www.biblegateway.com
- Quotes from “Key Word Study Bible”, AMG Publishers