Quick To Hear

James 1:19-21 (ESV)

19 (A)Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with (F)meekness the implanted word, (G)which is able to save your souls.

In verse 18 James said we should be a kind of first fruits. This means we should be an example of God’s love, sacrifice, and transforming redemptive power.  It may be tough to convince anyone how good God is and give them a snapshot of the whole first fruit thing when we’re not quick to hear slow to speak and slow to anger. 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.  Our anger can interrupt our Gospel witness.  Different sparks light the fire for each of us: disappointment, failure, disagreement, stress, betrayal, finances, exhaustion, and more.

If we are to be like God we must know what His anger looks like.  David says of God, “His anger is but for a moment, and His favor is for a lifetime.  Micah says, “He does not retain His anger forever, Because He [constantly] delights in mercy and lovingkindness – The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

Are we offended at anger in other people?
Are we comforted by the anger in ourselves?
Does our anger paint a clear picture of God or misrepresent Him?

Proverbs 16:32 32 whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city
Do we have this sort of self-control?

Our human nature is to be slow to hear and quick to speak.  We all think too highly of our opinions and what we’ve got to say.  It’s arrogant to presumptively finish listening before someone is finished talking.  Poor listening diminishes the speaker while good listening invites them to exist and matter.  It is a gift from God to be quick to listen and slow to speak.  Many times, God simply wants to use us as a channel of His affirming love as we listen with compassion and understanding.  Quite often people just need to have their emotions diffused by being listened to completely.  A humble heart considers the significance of others, looks to their interests, and is patient and kind.

Are we thinking about what we’re going to say instead of hearing what the person is saying?
Are you a good listener/quick to hear?
How do people know when someone truly cares?

Also, being quick to hear positions us to receive from God and increase our faith with a teachable heart.  Faith is not the only result of being quick to hear.  Mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, gentleness, patience and everything God wants us to have come from hearing Him.  The imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit is very precious in God’s sight.  A quiet spirit isn’t distracted by the noise of unrest, stress, or pride, There is great inner noise when your emotions are running wild or you are handling your own affairs without God.  Being a perfectionist, being hard on yourself, or being critical of others makes it hard to quickly hear God.

Deidrick Bonhoeffer

” Anyone who thinks that his time is too valuable to spend keeping quiet will eventually have no time for God and his brother, but only for himself and for his own follies.”

A problem can be we’re too full.  We’re stuffed with television, internet, Facebook, Twitter, our own thinking, jobs, money, troubles, dreams, or busyness.  James says put away everything else and get empty so we can get hungry and receive the implanted word.  There is ablessing in emptiness.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are those who mourn, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst. We’re blessed when we’re empty because that positions us to receive from God.

Are you empty so that you are in a place to receive?
How do we receive the implanted Word?

Let’s consider the analogy of air.  We live because there’s air in us. To keep living you must receive more of what is already in you.  Your life depends on it.  No one says the oxygen I have is working for me I don’t need more.  Receiving the implanted word keeps us alive spiritually.  It prevents a hard heart, wanting baited lures, and falling into temptations.  It saves our soul.

Why must we receive with meekness?

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