Devotion for Monday, September 12th, 2011
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
Pastor Ben’s Commentary:
This word “wherefore” helps bridge a transition from the text we studied last week to this weeks text. What did we learn last week?
- We are called to endure temptation.
- Temptation finds its’ source in our unholy desires. Temptation doesn’t come from a completely holy and righteous God.
- Everything good we have comes from God, who doesn’t change and will keep his promises. Our salvation is even proof of the goodness that He has for us in the future!
Knowing this, James calls us to 3 responses in verse 19-20.
- Swift to hear- We should be quick to listen, especially when what we are listening to is God’s Word!
- Slow to speak- Proverbs 10:19 gives great wisdom here. “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
- Slow to wrath- Wrath here speaks of angry responses when we are not really listening (especially to God’s Word), and are reacting to partial information because we haven’t listened. James says this doesn’t produce the righteousness of God in us or in others. This is exactly opposite of how God acts. In Romans 2:4, Paul asks the reader if they understand how God has responded to them. ” Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” It is God’s goodness, patience and longsuffering that leads to repentance, not man’s wrath (anger, hasty/reactive response to God and others).
The application of just this verse could revolutionize so many of the relationships that we have. Speaking to our relationship with God, it may look like intentionally learning from His Word and intentionally putting ourselves in environments where we can learn from Him. In our family relationships this approach to communication would really defuse a lot of the relational bombs that go off in our homes every day. Today, when you find yourself getting angry at what someone is saying ask yourself, “Am I being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to anger?”