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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

40 Days with James ~ Day 7 ~ Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak

Day 7 ~ Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak
James 1:19-21 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.  Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Read this text again closely.  Ask yourself this question: Are you quick to listen or quick to speak?  When you are having an argument or are in a debate with someone, do you take the time to listen to the other person's side or are you trying to win for the sake of being right?  We are always ready to prove ourselves right at the cost of someone else's pride.  Especially when we are upset do we set out to win, not to love.

This is the world's way of arguing.  Win at all costs!  But, Jesus has placed His Word in us in baptism so that we are no longer "of the world" (John 17:16).  We have a God who has spoken a different Word to us.  James says He has planted it in us!  This is the Word is Jesus Himself!  Jesus, our God, who forgives our sins and trespasses.  Jesus, our God, who does not seek to belittle us with His righteousness, but to clothe us in it.  His Word of forgiveness and grace actually brings about  the righteous life that God desires.  We are to be quick to listen to God's Word so that it shapes the way we speak and act.

We should not be impressed by quick-witted talking heads who make their opponents look like fools.   We have been born to a new life which is shaped by God's Word of grace.   The way we speak is a reflection and  outgrowth of the Word God has spoken to us.  Words of grace find themselves on our lips as the Spirit works through the Word implanted in our hearts. "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Confession:  Father of all mercies, by your mighty Word you created this world, and by that same gracious Word you have created a new heart within me.  Forgive me for when my words do not echo your words.  I confess that I care more about being right than loving my neighbor.  Forgive me and use my mouth to declare your praise.  AMEN!

Challenge:  Next time you are in an argument, lose.

Pastor Bob

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