So far in his letter, James has encouraged us to find joy in our trials, knowing they help us grow stronger in our faith. He has warned us to resist the temptation to take Satan’s shortcut out of a trial. He has reminded us that our Heavenly Father gives us good and perfect gifts, so we don’t need to go looking for more…
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; (James 1:19)
This is why I love the Book of James! He cuts right to the chase with short and powerful statements that show us where we are, and where we need to be in our walk with the Lord.
It may look like James has suddenly changed the subject, but when you study the context, verse 19 fits well with what has already been said. In verse 18, James brought up the “word of truth.” It is to God’s Word that we should be listening.
Trials are not fun, and when they come it is easy to get angry. But when we listen to God’s Word we often gain insight into why the Lord is allowing these trials in our lives.
Many of our trials come because of negative things that other people do. That is why it is so easy to get angry at others and lash out at them. However, while that might make us feel better for a few minutes, it will not really improve the situation. Instead we should go to God, and ask Him to show us His perspective. He may tell us something about the person hurting us that will lead us to pray for them, instead of being angry with them.
I think the most obvious application of verse 19 is that we should listen well to others before we speak. After all, God gave us one mouth and two ears, so perhaps we should listen twice as much as we talk. (Many arguments are caused by misunderstandings because people don't listen carefully to each other.) This is a very solid application, but I think the deeper meaning of this verse is to listen to God as He speaks to us through His Word.
I will leave you with this word of advice: If you are a person who likes to give others a piece of your mind, make sure you have enough pieces to spare!
Today’s Good News is that when we listen to God, our ears can keep our mouth out of a lot of trouble.
Now, go share the Good News…
FAITH in ACTION!
If you are joining us part way through this Journey in James, you can access the devotionals you missed in the archives. (The series started on June 1.)
If this is your first visit to this website, please read the “Featured Post” from March 1, 2018.