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Quick, Slow and Slower

Quick, Slow and Slower

Words of Faith 4-16-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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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.

 

       James suggests a great way to start your day: quick, slow, and slower.  Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and even slower to become angry.  Resolve to listen more, talk less, and don't move into anger mode quite so fast.  What simple wisdom, yet how profound. 

        In context, James was attempting to clear the way for the reception of God's truth as he leads into the next verses.  He began by calling for the readers' attention: "Take note of this."  So, this is important.

      The reception of the Word demands a readiness to listen.  Reluctance to listen will block the acceptance of the truth. It also demands restrained speech. A continual talker cannot hear what anyone else says, and by the same token will not hear when God speaks to him.  Anger will close the mind to God's truth.  Ceaseless talk may easily degenerate into fierce controversy. And a fiercely argumentative attitude is not conducive to the humble reception of truth.

       These disciplines are very powerful as we conduct ourselves in the Body of Christ.  Listening quickly, being slow to speak, and even slower to anger are powerful tools. 

       The Kingdom really needs more listeners.  The ministry of listening is not even a gift listed in Paul's letters.  It may not be supernatural, but it is one of the greatest gifts we ever offer to others and to God.  Stop and listen to the people around you-- your family, your friends, and your fellow church members.  Really hear from their lives the joys and frustrations.  Don't jump in with words.  It is a careful discipline to listen.  And one that values people as Jesus does.  So many times, Jesus stopped and listened to the lives of those around Him.

        Talking less can be difficult, but it is very much the Christ model.  We may jump in, but often we will wish we could get those "quick words" back.  Words can often ring, echo and sting, sometimes for years.  Sometimes Jesus' most powerful messages were said with silence.

       And angering slowly?  That can be a careful task.  Of course, there is a place for anger.  Jesus got angry to be sure.  There is a righteous indignation when the things of God have been wounded or offended.  But many times, our anger is based in selfish pride.  Quick anger often says: "I'm going to get my way" or "I shall prove that I am right.”  That sort of anger never brings us to where God wants us.  

        Human anger fails to yield the righteous life that God desires.  So be slow to anger.  In an argument, the one who is listening rather than lambasting is the one who is slow to anger.  Ask the deeper questions about your anger.  What am I really angry about?  Am I really directing anger at the right things?  Is this an anger I can responsibly express? 

 

      Lord, open my ears and my heart to listen.  Open my mouth only with Your words and only in Your timing.  Open my relationships to your reconciling love. Stir in me ever so slowly, only holy and righteous anger. In Jesus' Name.  Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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