Faith & Insight: Wisdom for our todays
A few days ago, I read a short article by a ministry friend who wrote, “In these days we must keep close watch on the condition of our heart and character of our response to those we disagree with.”
As I thought about what he had written, I was reminded of the verses in the 1st chapter of James, 19 & 20 which says, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” There is great wisdom in these verses.
First being QUICK TO LISTEN. This certainly applies to listening to God. I want to be a person whose ear is always listening for the whisper of the Holy Spirit to teach me, encourage me, direct, correct and comfort me.
I also thought about this in respect to listening to others. I want to be a person who really listens to others. People need to talk with others, talk with folks who care about them. The priority here is listening. If I am so interested in getting my point across, I care more about talking than listening. There is a growing unwillingness to listen to others in our culture today, as Proverbs 18:13 says “He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is a folly and shame to him.”
SLOW TO SPEAK. Proverbs 13:3 says that “those who control their tongue will have a long life, and opening your mouth can ruin everything.”
Slow to speak is preceded by quick to listen. Listen first, and don’t be in a hurry to start talking. When we do speak, let our speech be seasoned with grace at all times.
And remember also, Proverbs 15:1 tells us the “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Been there, done that.
SLOW TO BECOME ANGRY. I asked myself, Self, how short is your fuse? What does it take to get an angry response me? We find answers to this question in the experiences of life, right?
Slow to become angry: Proverbs 16 tells us that “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his own spirit than he who takes the city,” and also, “A quick tempered man does foolish things.” Proverbs 14:17
This verse in James goes on to tell us that a man’s anger is never the means of achieving God’s true goodness. Our anger does not accomplish God’s purposes. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are kingdom people on a mission from God – the Great Commission. God is working in us and developing His character in each of us. We the church, are to be a transforming presence, sent ones into the world to represent Jesus and minister in His name.
Remember, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Louis J. Locke is founding pastor, Fountainhead Foursquare Church. http://www.ffccc.org