Thursday, October 23, 2008
JAMES 1:19 Understand [this], my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear [a ready listener], slow to speak, slow to take offense and to get angry.
Today we are in a world of speed. Fast food, fast internet, fast cars. Everyone is in a hurry. We get ourselves in so much trouble because we don’t slow down. There are so many misunderstandings between people because we don’t slow down to really hear what the other person is saying. The first part of the scripture says we need to quick to hear, a ready listener. Most people are so caught up in their own world, what they are going through or what they have just come through, that they don’t take the time to listen to others.
We as Christians need to look at the rest of the verse as well and take heed to what it is saying to us. We need not be as the world is and go through life as fast as we can. We need to slow down. The next part talks about being slow to speak. WOW, does anyone do that today? When something is said that we don’t like, we jump right up and say what is on our mind. We are cruel in what we say. We don’t watch our words and we hurt others by what we say. There are many scriptures that warn us not to do this.
James 1:26 (Amplified Bible)
If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren).
James 2:12 (Amplified Bible)
So speak and so act as [people should] who are to be judged under the law of liberty [the moral instruction given by Christ, especially about love].
Our words can really hurt people and they go deep into a persons heart.
The words of a whisperer or slanderer are like dainty morsels or words of sport [to some, but to others are like deadly wounds]; and they go down into the innermost parts of the body [or of the victim's nature].
The words of a whisperer or talebearer are as dainty morsels; they go down into the innermost parts of the body.
This is what people who are evil and against God do, we must learn and not be like them.
Psalm 5:8-9 (Amplified Bible)
Lead me, O Lord, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way level (straight and right) before my face.
9 For there is nothing trustworthy or steadfast or truthful in their talk; their heart is destruction [or a destructive chasm, a yawning gulf]; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter and make smooth with their tongue.
This is what we should be saying as we slow down our speech.
Psalm 19:14 (Amplified Bible)
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] Rock and my Redeemer.
We want what we say to glorify God and be acceptable to Him. The bible has so much to say about what we say. Be slow to speak.
The next way we need to slow down is to be slow to take offense. Most of the time when we get offended it has to do with our pride. We must choose not to take offense. Being offended is an emotion. It may start with a thought and grow as we ponder that thought.
Acts 24:16 (Amplified Bible)
Therefore I always exercise and discipline myself [mortifying my body, deadening my carnal affections, bodily appetites, and worldly desires, endeavoring in all respects] to have a clear (unshaken, blameless) conscience, void of offense toward God and toward men.
We must avoid offense towards God and man. We must control ourselves.
1 Peter 4:8 (Amplified Bible)
Above all things have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others].
We must remember that Satan is the accuser of the brethren(Rev. 12:10) and he is a liar and we do not want to be like him. He will try to convince you that someone has done you wrong and that you deserve better than that. Satan tries to divide people because he knows that there is power when we are together and agree.
Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
He knows that when we are divided we will fall. He knows that if we are divided he can conquer. We must not have a spirit of offense.
Matthew 12:25 (Amplified Bible)
And knowing their thoughts, He said to them, Any kingdom that is divided against itself is being brought to desolation and laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will last or continue to stand.
Most offenses are imagined. Satan will try to stir us up. A misunderstanding or miscommunication can cause division. Satan will try to blow things out of proportion so we become divided. When people become offended they become resentful and bitter. This can led to the next part of James 1:19, Anger.
We must be slow to anger.
But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.
Do not be quick in spirit to be angry or vexed, for anger and vexation lodge in the bosom of fools.
When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath (your exasperation, your fury or indignation) last until the sun goes down.
Proverbs 15:18 (Amplified Bible)
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger appeases contention.
A SOFT answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.
Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will, or baseness of any kind).
The beginning of strife is as when water first trickles [from a crack in a dam]; therefore stop contention before it becomes worse and quarreling breaks out.
The bible has so much to say about how we live and conduct ourselves. The only way we can do or not do any of these things is if we look to what Jesus did for us at the cross and therefore receiving the help of the Holy Spirit in our lives to help us be Slow in a fast world.
In this scripture it seems to have a natural progression. If we don’t be quick to hear, we won’t be slow to speak. Then if we don’t slow down on what we speak then we won’t be slow to take offense. Then if we are not slow to take offense, then we won’t be slow to anger. It will be easier to be slow in anger if we are quick to list, slow to speak, and slow to take offense. Father help us today to not get caught up in the world of speed. We want our lives to be acceptable to you. Open our eyes as we go through our day to what we are saying and how we are reacting to what others are saying. We want to glorify you. Change us Lord. Help us to “Slow Down” today. In Jesus name, AMEN!!!