If you are just starting this study, go here to the first day.
Let’s start by taking a look at the scripture for today:
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life 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.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.James 1: 19-25
We see in verses 19-20 that we must listen closely first before we react. Anger is not the kind of life that God wants for us. I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.James 1:19-21 The Message
Well put, Mr. Peterson! He puts it in language that we can relate to.
In verse 21, we are instructed to live a life of clean living. Get rid of the evil that Satan wants us to turn to, instead look at the Word that has been written on your heart and make that your default.
It’s so easy to quickly snap at someone when you think you know the situation. But, if we listen to the whole situation we may find that things weren’t quite what they seemed at first. We often judge too quickly.
The next passage is about internalizing the word. We can’t just listen to a sermon and not take action. If we hear the Word and it doesn’t cause us to make a change in our life we may be doomed to the final judgment. Don’t think that you have plenty of time to live and you can change when you get older. None of us know when our time will come.
As we look deeply into the scriptures and try to understand what God wants for us, we can’t help but change the way we live. Because the Word is in us, we will be blessed.
Do you know someone that has a short fuse and will go off at the slightest thing? Maybe it’s you. I think it’s wise to hold our tongue until all of the facts are on the table before we make snap judgments. Anger doesn’t usually help a situation anyway. Taking some time to assess the incident is always going to result in a better outcome.
I think my biggest take away in this section of James 1 is that it takes more than coming to church on Sunday to be a Christian. Calling ourselves a Christian does not make it so. If we hear the Word, but the very next week we’re doing the same things against God’s laws, well we’ve missed the boat.
I also think it’s important for each person to find a way that you can serve in the church. It could be something as simple as getting communion ready or being a greeter to serving on the praise team or teaching a Sunday school class. Find a way to serve and attend other activities that your church offers. A Bible study is a super place to get plugged into the heart of the church. You can learn so much through discussion of the lesson with other people.
I hope this post has been helpful. Tomorrow we’ll finish up our discussion of chapter 1. I hope you’re getting as much out of this study as I am!