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Quick to Hear and Slow to Speak

James 1:19 “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 meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

If you have trusted Christ for your salvation, then there is no doubt that you are always on the alert to see to it that your habits and your way of life conform to the truth of the Scriptures. When you do begin to veer to the left or the right, God by His Spirit will convict you and begin to draw you back. This way of life is best pictured in Philippians, where Paul said, “…work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)

One of the ways that we have been commanded to honor God is by being “…quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” (James 1:19) Your speech and your listening and your control of your emotions should give evidence to the new life that you have received in Christ. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Sometimes the best thing to do in a difficult conversation is just be quiet. Proverbs 26:20 says, “…for lack of wood, a fire goes out.” Untamed speech throws additional wood on an already raging fire. Proverbs 17:27 says, “…whoever restrains his words has knowledge and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. 28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” The quick-tempered person is the one who speaks without careful consideration. Uncontrolled anger leads to uncontrolled speech. The person who is wise in the Spirit and word must learn to control the emotion of anger and thereby eliminate one of the most common sources of unwise speech.

You need to put aside anything in your life that does not produce the “…righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Therefore, you must “…put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness”, so that you can “… receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

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