James 1:19-20 – So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
In talking to the believers dispersed throughout the Roman Empire, undergoing unbelievable persecution, James says, “Don’t forget that God is good. And what’s happening in you is going to work for good ultimately. Therefore, don’t be cynical; don’t be quick to complain about your situation. Instead, stop speaking and start listening—and you will hear God’s voice in your trial.” It has been wisely noticed that “Nature has given to man one tongue, but two ears, that we may hear from others twice as much as we speak.” There is a real danger of our talking too much. Being swift to hear means that you should be ready to hear the word of God, as well as all godly counsel and correction. To be slow to speak instructs you in being guarded in all your conversations. Verse 20 concludes that anger never produces anything of value. I truly hope you have this verse memorized. Because, being frustrated and hot under the collar never accomplishes anything that is worthwhile.
Ultimately the key both to responding to trials and resisting temptation is to be found in your reaction to God’s Word. Receptivity to the Word and responsiveness to the Word are essential to spiritual growth. You must accept God’s Word, act on it, and abide by it. This week’s verse does not suggest that you should NOT speak, but instead, that you should be SLOW to speak. Do you find yourself responding too quickly without taking time to think beforehand or without stepping back and considering how you should respond? Have you ever regretted what you said to someone because you spoke too soon? If so, then your challenge this week is to resist the strong temptation to speak too quickly and to take a moment to contemplate just how God would have you respond to your situations. Seek the help of the Holy Spirit to assist you in hearing twice as much as you speak. As the scripture says, “A soft answer turns away wrath…” Proverbs 15:1, may you seek in every way God’s perfect answer. One of my favorite verses in the Bible is found in Proverbs 17:28, “Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace…” This week, practice being slow to speak. God bless you.
Have a God centered week,