James 1:19 KJV
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
This verse is golden in my book. It is an area where I struggle everyday. Isn’t it odd how the simplest things can trip one up in their pursuit of a Godly character? The truth contained in this verse is advantageous in all areas of life, and we should give all diligence to carry out this assignment as if our lives depended on it. We will all find our lives so much smoother if we can do that, and the sooner the better. Let us begin.
Wherefore means “as a result”. This verse is addressing the previous 18 versus and tells us what we should do once we have realized the truth of that section. Let’s quickly capsulize the truths contained there for those who may just be joining our study.
- Have joy in temptations, trials and tests
- The reason to have joy is because these things are sent to us so that our faith will work to produce patience
- When patience has full become a reality in our life, and we have learned to wait on God with joy, we will be ready to fulfill the plan God has for our lives
- If we need wisdom to understand the reason for these trials, we must ask with a faith that does not waver, for if we do not we will be unstable in all our ways, and will receive nothing from God
- We must seek the lower seat, not to be noticed in our trials or our good deeds, for God will raise us up at the right time
- When we endure the trials with patience, we will be rewarded with the crown of life
- We should always realize that God is not putting the trial on us, but our heart’s lust has brought it on. God merely uses our trails as a means of perfecting us. He only gives good gifts. We must not be in error on this point, but rely on His word to guide us through.
Wherefore – as a result, we should be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
We must be swift to hear because our God is always speaking to us. I have become so aware of this since May of last year as my life slowed down and I went through cancer treatments. I have been able to hear His voice very clearly as I quieted down. As a result, you have been able to receive the studies on Philippians, Ephesians, Psalms and now James. Thousands have read the 500+ poems, songs and Psalms the Lord has given me. All because I learned to listen.
Beyond that, we must learn to listen to those around us. I know that I am a terrible listener. I have a habit of interrupting people, I don’t remember conversations and what was said, and I am always thinking about what I will say in response when I am in a conversation. It is terrible and I need God’s help to change this. I know this is my pride creeping in all the time. Why do I say that?
First, Pride will interrupt because I feel like what I have to say is more important than allowing the other person to finish first. Pride assumes it knows where the the person is going, and has an answer before the do finish. Pride thinks it knows it alll, so can bump in anytime.
Second, pride isn’t concerned with remembering what was said in a conversation. It deems it as unimportant in the long run and only keeps those things it deems important/ The problem is that I don’t remember the little things, like kinds names and the hobbies/sports they are into. Like if they are going on vacation or trying something new in their lives. These things are unimportant to me when I have pride because they don’t affect me, but in reality they are very important to them, and if I can remember them, it will be better for me.
Third, when I think about what I am going to say next, it is also pride because what I have to say is more important to me than listening to what they are saying. At least I deem it to be so. These bad listening habits all stem back to pride. I know I have pride, and I continually need to keep an eye on it.
Being slow to speak follows right along with that, as you can obviously see that I speak to quickly all the time. If I can listen better, I will slow down on speaking, Another good things about being slow to speak is that I will take time to think about what I am going to say so that it does not hurt the hearer. Boy, do I need to practice that in my marriage! I am regularly saying things that hurt my wife, and I don’t even think about how what I am going to say could be taken wrong. I must be more careful there.
And being slow to wrath should be obvious to all of us. Being angry is never justified unless it is a righteous anger over things in the Kingdom. Even Jesus displayed that toward the scribes and pharisees. That is the only time we see this side of Jesus. Wrath, or anger, is also a result of pride when it is aimed at another individual. It says that I have a right to be angry because you have done something to me to make me angry. Usually it comes because of what we deem as something they have done to offend us.
I have saying I try to live by when it comes to being offended – “f I am offended I need to ask myself what miserable piece of flesh s left in me that can still be offended?” We are supposed to be dead to the flesh and walking in the spirit. Only my flesh can get offended by earthly things. Living above that is essential in this life.
These three little things – swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath – are so essential to our effective witness. People see these things in us and will wonder how we can remain so calm, so caring and so in tune with what is going on. They will wonder how we can do that, and this will give us an opportunity to witness. Remember, James is tying this in with His discourse on facing trials. These three principles should be specially practiced when we are going through tough times. Swift to hear the voice of God guiding us through, slow to speak to anyone else about the troubles we are having, and slow to wrath as we try to survive and make it through.
I know this post has run rather long (1155 words so far), but it s essential that we learn these things. i easily could have broken it up and talked about each one of these three things in a separate post, but I felt it important to keep them together. I hope you don’t mind. I wonder how you are doing with these three things in your life? I hope you are doing better then me!