God Desires we be Slow

Scripture: James 1:19-20, ‘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.’


Observations: When the Bible says we ought to ‘take note’ of something, we ought to take note of it. James says, ‘Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.’ Firstly, James is just talking about good communication skills. He rates listening above speaking, because listening means putting the needs of the other person before your own. Often we are quick to speak because we think other people need to hear our wisdom, it’s very egotistical. Rather a listening ear communicates that you value what the other person is saying. It’s also a good way to truly understand what the other person is thinking or feeling. If we were quicker to listen rather than speak, we may find ourselves becoming less angry. But this is less about good communication skills than living ‘the righteous life that God desires.’ As Christians we need to be careful to keep a rein on our anger. Paul writes, ‘in your anger do not sin. (Eph 4:26)’ There is a place for ‘righteous anger,’ when we get angry for God’s honour, but mostly our anger is selfish and destructive and leads to sin.


Application: Firstly, I want to encourage you today to make a point of listening more than speaking. Ask questions and get to the bottom of what other people are trying to say. Go to great lengths to understand them. Secondly, if you find yourself getting angry at all today, remind yourself that anger doesn’t bring about the life that God desires for you. Ask God to fill you with the Spirit of peace and help you remain calm.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that often I like to hear the sound of my own voice. I think what I have to say is more important than what others have to say. Lord, convict me of my pride, and help me to humbly listen to others. Lord, help me value the thoughts and feelings of others. Lord, keep anger far from me and help me to live the righteous life that You desire. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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