James 1:19-20 – “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”
For those living in a microwave world of instant everything where they demand things immediately if not sooner and they want it yesterday, this passage can be problematic. There are principles in every facet of our world that if we begin wrong we will normally reach the wrong destination or reach the right one marred and scarred. This passage illustrates that perfectly.
- SWIFT TO HEAR…
Many people I know find that a most difficult task for hearing is frequently one of our shortcomings. Not that we cannot hear but that we do not listen and therefore do not hear. I have known people who are so focused on their response and what they will say next they fail to hear what the other is saying. There can be little agreement, comradery, fellowship and certainly no “koinonia” if this is the case. To develop interpersonal relationships and build unity we must HEAR and James instructs us to be SWIFT in that pursuit. It should a prime objective to both hear our brothers and sisters and to hear the Spirit of God.
- SLOW TO SPEAK…
Sadly, many fail at this point even if they have heard. We have a tendency to engage mouth before we engage the brains and too frequently before we have discerned the heart of the Father on the matter. Many proudly proclaim, “Well, I just tell it like it is and let the chips fall where they may.” That can be good but it can also be incredibly destructive, insensitive, unfeeling and without grace. If we carefully weigh our words, evaluate the consequences and impact of those words we will find the guidance of the Spirit of God empowers us to dynamically impact others.
- SLOW TO WRATH…
One of the reasons we tend to speak quickly is because we fail on this front. If we are quick-tempered and allow our anger to quickly boil over into rage and wrath we will find it impossible on the second part speaking. If we allow the Spirit of God to maintain control over our tempers we will find that we are able to speak soft answers that turn away wrath without being perceived as a doormat or pushover.
Obedience on these points is valuable if for no other reason than failure does not produce righteousness. If we are to be God’s witnesses and are to manifest Him to the world then we need to walk in God’s righteousness.
Therefore, I encourage everyone to seriously seek the help of the Holy Spirit to empower, enable and strengthen our discipline so that we are Swift Hearers, Slow to Voice our Opinion and Controlled in our Anger.
May the Lord be with you as you go through this day!