James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” NIV
This just makes me so mad, I muttered to myself as I hunted in the basket, on the table and through my purse for the car keys. How many times have I told her not to take the keys out to the car ahead of me without telling me? I am absolutely going to give her such a blast when I get out there. I was in such a temper even my blood felt like it was boiling as it rushed around my body. Grrrrrrrrr.
Fortunately for me, I have been there and done this sort of thing more than once. What’s that you ask? Why be slow to listen, quick to speak and even quicker to become angry about something I figured someone else had done. So as I was growling and muttering and gnashing my teeth as I searched for my keys, that small, quiet little voice of experience inside of me was crooning, calm down, take it easy, stop and think before you act, don’t think negatively, have you checked the pocket of the coat you’re wearing? Well, no, I hadn’t but I did and lo and behold there were the car keys which I had obviously and unwittingly put there as I slipped into my jacket a few moments before. Boy was I glad, even though I was feeling acutely embarrassed about my inner behaviour, that I hadn’t flown off the handle and blamed the person I thought had marched off with the keys.
Blaming others is absolutely one of the easiest things in life to do isn’t it? It absolves us of responsibility, makes us feel superior and gives us opportunity to vent our negative emotions. But, alas it does not bring about the righteous life that God and we, as His children desire.
The keys which bring about a righteous life however are not hidden, God has left them right out here in the open for anyone to find and use, if they so desire. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry and the righteous life that God desires for us will be unlocked.
Prayer: Father God thank you for the keys of righteousness which you offer to all who choose to accept and use them. Encourage our hearts this day, in Christ Jesus, to be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry that we might indeed experience the righteous life you desire for us. In Christ’s name we ask. Amen.
Lynne Phipps email@example.com
FOLLOW-UP: The Keys
Read: James 1:19-27 NIV
How do you think the word planted in you got there? (vs.21) How does it save us? What is James referring to?
How can the word planted in us enable us to use the keys of truth in verse 19 to bring about the righteous life God desires?
In Ephesians 2:8,9 we read: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. Do James words concerning listening and doing contradict salvation by grace? (think back to question 1)
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do. How does this passage in James that we are looking at reinforce the importance of Ephesians 2:10?
If salvation from God is a gift, free for the asking, why is doing good important?
How does listening to the word as well as doing the word affect us? (vs.25) How does it have the potential to affect others outside of the faith?
Have you ever known someone who claims to know Christ but whose life does not show the transformation of Christ’s salvation? How has this affected you?
What is a pitfall we must watch for in regards to carrying out these instructions of James regarding ‘doing’ of the word?
Which key or keys of the way to the righteous life from verse 19 do you need to start using more often?