James #6 - August, 2019
listen to podcast:
I'm a bit of a gym rat and can make myself at home in almost any gym, anywhere. By now, I know what muscles are most important for me to exercise - which ones need strengthening, which ones I'd like to build. Further, I also know what sets of muscles have reciprocal effects - such as, when I work on my abdominal muscles, I strengthen my lower back.
Hold that thought as we look at James' next words of wisdom, finishing the rest of James chapter one:
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness 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.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it-not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it-they will be blessed in what they do.
Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1.19-27
So how are you doing with the exercise of your ears vs. the exercise of your tongue? Note what I have emboldened above, please. How often I am guilty of rushing in with my words, with my opinion, when I just should have listened, and then listened a little longer.
And as for anger? For some time, I mistakenly thought I had no issue with anger because I did not have a temper. Hmmm.
Friend, do not confuse these like I did. Just because you don't 'blow your stack', does not mean you do not deal with anger. Anger can be a bitter thought pushed way back inside of you that gains interest, so to speak, in an account called 'Resentment'. Anger is usually secondary to fear or hurt--so, interview yourself about anger you have - do you have resentment? ------->>>>>>figure it out, pray about it, then give it to God, and be free.
James instructs us to 'not merely listen to the word. . . Wait, 'Listen'? Why did he say listen? Because the common man had no access to the printed words of Scripture for more than a thousand years after James wrote. Donot merely listen, but do what it says.' Let's apply his great instruction with regard to listening and being slow in becoming angry.
Here's a thought: Let's say your mate or your mother or your friend says something that hurts you, makes you feel angry and defensive. . .BEFORE you react or overreact, (even if just internally):
~>Repeat back to her what you believe she said, and say, 'is that what you meant to say?'
~>She then can say, 'oh, no, what I meant to say was this _____' or she will confirm what you heard. . .
~>You then say, 'why did you say that?' (then be quiet and listen)
~>You can then explain, or simply say, 'when you said that, this is how it made me feel. . . '
~>BE QUIET, and let her respond, if she hasn't already, she may apologize. . .
Exercise your ears before your tongue!
Let's read the Word of God and endeavor to apply it, rather than just checking the box of 'I read the Bible this morning.'
and brother James