#MeditationMonday – Out of the abundance of a man’s heart, his mouth speaks.
Welcome, dearly beloved. I pray the mercies of God over you throughout this week. I hope to encourage and build you up in the Lord. Today’s passage is taken from James 1:19-26, with an emphasis on verse 19. I pray you gain a deeper understanding of these verses. As you grow in knowledge and understanding, may you be empowered to share your convictions with those around you.
Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving].
James 1:19 [AMP]
The QSS protocol is simply this:
Q-uick to listen
S-low to speak
S-low to get angry
How do we take these 3 things emphasised in James 1:19 and apply them to our daily lives? Being slow to anger is quite obvious but what does it really mean to be quick to listen or slow to speak? Well, let’s jump right in. We’ll go over the S’s before we examine the Q.
Slow To Get Angry
The Amplified version of the bible puts it like this:
patient, reflective, forgiving
Why are adminonished to be slow to anger? Easy, verse 20 immediately gives us our answer: because human anger does not produce godly righteousness. Godly righteousness is the standard of behaviour God expects of those who are in right standing with Him through faith in Christ Jesus. The standard of behaviour God expects of the righteous is this:
But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
– I Peter 1:15-16 [NASB]
Fleshly anger does not produce holiness. There is a righteous anger – a holy indignation such as that displayed by Jesus at the temple (Matthew 21:12-16) or that displayed by Phineas who killed the fornicators in the Israelite camp (Numbers 25:1-9).
However, holy anger is not the focus of our talk today. If human/fleshly anger does not produce godly righteousness, what then does it produce? It produces self-righteousness. Human anger prevents you from living the kind of life God desires for you because it causes you to have a deep-seated resentment of men or circumstances and often stems from pride, which is immorality.
Therefore, verse 21 admonishes us to get rid of anything like anger which defiles us. We are encouraged to:
“get rid of; lay aside every evil thing [moral filth/defilement] and every kind of wrong [excessive evil], get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness”
All this can be summed up to mean: disassociate yourself from all immorality. Continue to make sure that you are free from offence, not easy to offend. Surround yourself with an attitude that is devoid of moral filthiness. When people offend you; empathise, don’t criticise.
The term “immorality” isn’t just reserved for the so-called big 3: Fornication, Porn & Adultery. Looking at it that way is using man’s standards, and the world’s standards on immorality are very lax in these last days. We must take a narrow view of immorality to qualify by God’s standards. By God’s standards, lying is immoral, gossiping is immoral, backbiting is immoral etc.
How does any of this relate to being slow to anger?
Follow this logic. What comes out of a man is what defiles Him, and what comes out of a man is usually what He has been meditating upon. Therefore, the more immorality we surround/associate ourselves with, the quicker we are to get angry.
Lesson: The route to being slow to anger is to disassociate yourself from all immorality and live a life filled with the peace of God found in Christ Jesus.
Slow To Speak
The Amplified version puts it like this:
Be a speaker of carefully chosen words
We must be people who carefully choose our words. Being slow to speak involves keeping a tight reign on your tongue. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. Follow that ratio. Listen more, talk less.
Proverbs 17:28 says
Even fools seem to be wise if they keep quiet; if they don’t speak [keep their lips shut], they appear to understand.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “empty barrels make the most noise”. It’s true. The less you talk, the wiser you become. It’s a fool that talks all the time. It doesn’t mean don’t speak at all, it means “talk” i.e. chatter – mindless, meaningless conversations. Be mindful of the conversations you engage in. Be careful as you choose the words you utter. Don’t think you’re so smart or you know it all, and even if you do, endavour to voice your opinions with considerate language.
Indeed, it is impossible to please everybody when we speak but that doesn’t mean we should be jerks when answering questions about our faith or anything else. It’s not merely abstaining from speaking vulgar words, rather the manner in which we speak to others must demonstrate that we have carefully thought out what we want to say and we have weighed it well in our countenance before actually speaking.
Jesus demonstrated this in responding to the accusations against the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11), He didn’t have to banter too many words in response to their claims, He simply stopped, thought and responded with one sentence that left everyone astounded. That is the real meaning of being slow to speak.
Lesson: Think before you speak. Not everything is worth responding to.
Quick to Listen
The Amplified version puts it like this:
be a careful, thoughtful listener
Listen to what others are actually saying. Don’t listen to respond, listen to understand. That’s the true mark of an effective communicator. To be a thoughtful listener, filter things through the voice of the Holy Spirit. Be quick to listen to the Holy Spirit, who is the voice of God’s word.
When scripture says “be quick to listen”, it doesn’t mean to hear with our ears alone but to actually heed instructions.
The true mark of listening is obedience.
When someone tells you to do something or gives you advice and you respond, “yeah, I heard you” but do the opposite of what they instructed/advised or do nothing at all, the following question is usually: “didn’t you hear what I said?” or “why didn’t you listen to my advice?” This shows that actions reflect the reality of our hearing. Your level of obedience demonstrates the level of your hearing.
Lesson: Listening and obedience go hand in hand. Therefore, be quick to heed the voice of the Holy Spirit, don’t ignore or push the Voice of Conviction away.
We’ve examined these verses in the context of our relationships with others, but how about with God? Are we slow to get angry at God when things don’t go how we want/planned? Are we quick to listen when God instructs us to pray for that brother/sister we dislike? Are we quick to disagree with God instead of being slow to speak when it comes to God’s will, purposes and plans over our lives?
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for your precious word which I have humbly received on this day. Heavenly father, make me slow to get angry when things don’t go my way, slow to speak against your will and quick to listen to your instructions, plans and purposes over my life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen!
Hope you’ve gained something valuable from this post. Be sure to leave any comments/questions you have in the comment box below or via one of our social media pages.