Thursday, August 21, 2014

Being Swift To Hear

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:" - James 1:19 KJV

A person who wants to learn is swift to hear. A problem solver must be. Anger or frustration often comes when we must have the solution and we are not patient enough to listen with our ears or our eyes.

The passage leading up to this verse is also very illuminating.

"Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures." - James 1:16-18 ESV

There is a flow coming from God. His input is useful (Agathos Strong's G18) and complete (Teleios G5046). Jesus used a word from the same family as that second word when He said, 'It is finished!' on the cross. God's grace is useful and His counsel brings us to completion because it comes from someone who has seen the end as well as the beginning.

If we are quick to listen and slow to speak our anger will come slowly also and will burn clean instead of sending up billows of smoke. Anger is reserved for evil not sin but we must listen to hear and discern the difference.

You may say what is the difference between evil and sin. Shouldn't both make me angry?

Sin is paid for. People miss the mark all the time. God is patient and long suffering for sinful things.

"If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;" - Psalms 130:3-5 ESV

He hates sin but His anger about sin has been poured out on one substitute. Jesus was the sacrifice that paid to satisfy God's holiness.

God is still angry about evil and those that align themselves with evil will be caught in the crossfire of that righteous rage.

"But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly." - 2 Peter 3:7 ESV

"But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil" - Romans 2:5-9a ESV

So if we understand man's depravity and are in God's flow of grace we will discern what is warfare and what is weakness. Anger will come slowly if and when it comes at all. It will not be faithless.

"Be angry, and do not sin; ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah" - Psalms 4:4 ESV

In other words do not act quickly in anger. Wait and think things through with God. Look at what the cross has done and weigh the situation that way. Sin is paid for but evil is not. Which one is this?

In the flow of God's goodness we will get definition and will be able to be kind but decisive. We will listen with our eyes and discover avenues to be a blessing to people instead of using their faults against them.


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