I love the book of James: I’ve read it more than any other book of the Bible. It seems like anytime I find myself thinking “where’s that verse,” it’s in James. It covers a wide range of theological topics, including both speaking and wisdom.
While the actual word wisdom isn’t used in James 1:19, the concept of it is. Speaking is an action, and as we work through this idea of how our #ActionsMatter I want us to focus just on that verse:
Listen. Really Listen.
In my office at home, I have a corkboard with a card hanging on it. It was one that my son made, and I honestly can’t remember who or what it was for. What’s important is that it’s a reminder to listen. Connor was trying to explain something to me about the intent of the card. I had my mind made up what I thought and wouldn’t hear his explanation.
About ten minutes later, and after Steph got through to me, I came to him and apologized. I told him I was wrong because I didn’t give him a chance to speak. The card has hung on my door since that day, a reminder to always use wisdom and allow the other person a chance to say what they have to say.
I watched a tv show with Steph last night where a group of lawyers constantly objected to what the other side said. At one point, it felt as if every third word in the show was “Objection!” I understand in a legal situation this is a necessary part of the process, but it is not how our everyday lives should be.
Truly listen to what the other person has to say. Allow them the opportunity to express their feelings. Whether you’re their accountability partner or it’s someone you’re having a debate with, ask God to give you wisdom and know when to speak and when to simply listen.
Today is a quiet day at the studio. This blog is my primary focus and my other upcoming tasks are not time sensitive. Through planning and efficiency, I’ve made it possible to give this blog the attention it deserves.
However, I still feel this sense of urgency to get it done quickly. Why? Our society tells us to go, go, go! Ingrained in our psyche is an expectation to get stuff done as fast as possible.
This mentality carries over to what we say.
James said we must be slow to speak. By this, he meant we should use wisdom and think before we open our mouth.
Ask yourself, “Is what I’m about to say going to help someone? Is it the right response?” We’re quick to offer our opinions, especially on social media, but is this a wise choice?
Of course not. It affects our witness and reinforces some of the stereotypes the world has developed about Christians. Slow down and think before you speak and watch how God can use you.
If I had a nickel for every time I spouted off something stupid in a fit of anger, I’d have at least a quarter by now! Joking aside, as a society doesn’t it feel like we’re quick to fly off the handle? Anger is one of those actions we try to we gloss over, often citing Jesus’ actions in the temple as justification for our response.
I don’t buy that argument. James tells us to be slow to anger. Jesus had good reason to do what He did, and furthermore, He’s the Son of God. He was within His rights to cleanse the temple, but that doesn’t give us the right to treat others rudely.
I’m an impatient person, and when I’m in a hurry I lose my cool a whole lot easier than I should. I’m thankful that the Spirit will often quicken and remind me when I’m starting to slip into that bad habit. I don’t always heed His warnings, but I am improving!
Society is angry. We should do everything we can to not add to the hurt others feel, but rather be the beacon of light they need!
The Spirit’s Wisdom
None of what I said here is possible without the Holy Spirit’s help. Paul reminds us that wisdom is one of the Gifts of the Spirit, and James tells us to ask God if we lack it. If you find yourself lacking in it, stop and ask for God for His intervention. He’s willing to give it to us when we ask in faith!
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