Pastor Ricky Page filled in for Miles this week giving us a thought provoking message. He refers us to the book of James and gave us a little back ground into James history.
James was Jesus's half brother who didn't believe in Jesus as the Son of God until after Jesus was crucified and risen from the dead (can you blame him? If my brother claimed such I wouldn't believe him).
Slow to Speak and Quick to Listen
Today we focus on James 1:19 which says So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Easy to say, hard to do. Human nature dictates the opposite. Talk louder than any, don't bother listening to anyone and if you get mad make it well known.
Since we are humans born into sin we all know the consequences of not listening, talking too much and being quick to anger (and for all of us parents out there we see both sides of it!).
That is why in the very next verse, James 1:20, it states for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Anger is not of God so we shouldn't do it. I know. I know. Easy to say.
Imagine the possibilities if we as a people listened to what other had to say, thought about what we are going to say before we say it and communicate rather than get angry (that would may eliminate the need for courts and lawyers!).
Lay Aside All Filthiness
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which able to save your souls. James 1:21
Implanted word means the message of the Bible that our Creator gave us so that we can save our souls. But before we receive this message we must lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness.
I would create a list of all those things, but we don't have the space on this webpage. If you want to know you can ask me as I haven't lived the life of a saint and have had plenty of wickedness that I'm not proud of. So this verse is telling me that I need to get rid of these things so that I can get Gods wonderful message for me and that is available to every single person; mainly You!
Be Doers of the Word
span class="inlinereference">But be doers of the word, and not hearers only; deceiving yourselves. James 1:22
First we are told to listen, get rid of our wicked ways and then to actually do what we are taught, not simply listen to it.
Pastor Page referred to a study in which it was determined that we as people say about 6.4 million words in our lives. But what are we saying as compared to what are we doing? Talk is cheap.
So I can say that I'm a good Christian, that I go to small group, that I'm on a ministry and go to church bright and early every Sunday (better parking at the 8 AM service!), but am I doing what verse James 1:27 says? to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Am I doing what God wants me to do. Am I listening to the word, slow to anger and then doing what I'm taught? That is what is important.