Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20
Both Ephesians 4:31 and Colossians 3:8 command us to put away anger, wrath, malice, slander and obscene talk, as well as clamor (chaos or drama). I suppose all of those cousins of anger keep us from being good listeners. Go back to James 1:4. In the ESV it reads, “Let steadfastness (perseverance, endurance, patience) have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete…”
That means we have to let, or to allow, God to do His work in our lives. We also have to let go of resentments, bitterness, our tendency to get revenge and to back stab. We’ll look first at how to let God do the work in us that leads to righteousness, and enables us to be quick to hear and slow to speak, as well as slow to anger.
- James 1:21 gives us our first clue: “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.” The ‘implanted Word’ is the Bible at work in our lives. It is able to save our souls, according to this verse. We are to receive it with meekness, which is another word for humility. We get the implanted Word from preaching, sound teaching and from our own reading and studying. All of this needs to be aimed at applying its truth to our hearts and lives. That’s where humility comes in. Instead of hearing a sermon and thinking, “My sister should hear this,” we must listen for ourselves and ask God what it is that He wants us to implement.
- 2 Timothy 2:22 commands us to, “Flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” If you try to get rid of a bad habit without putting a good habit in its place, you are bound to fail. We are to chase after righteousness and hang with people who do the same. Don’t be a companion of fools. Pursuing righteousness involves monitoring all of the music, tv shows, movies, books and things in your environment. Instead, spend your time reading Godly books, worship music that lifts up Jesus, and fellowshipping with like minded people. Pray and ask to help you to find them.
Now for how to ‘let go of’ the things that we are to put away.
- Do a fierce moral inventory and see who and what you are holding on to bitterness and resentment about. Give them to God, asking Him to forgive you for holding onto the bitterness and then forgiving the person who wronged you. Ask God to show you if you have “anything against anyone.” Bitterness fuels drama and forgiveness fuels a peaceful heart. Forgiveness enables you to walk away from drama and backstabbing.
- Do a clean sweep in your house and life. Get rid of things that keep you from pursuing righteousness, burn them if necessary. End bad relationships as gracefully as you can. Do the hard work of finding new friends and hobbies.
- Embrace God’s forgiveness. Psalm 103:12 promises, “As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us.” Corrie Ten Boom has said that God throws our sins into the deepest part of the ocean and puts a ‘No Fishing Allowed’ sign on it. Don’t get bound up in anger against yourself because of things in the past. Do what Paul urged in Philippians 3:13, “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” If Satan reminds you of your past, you remind him of his future!
This song is a cry for God to do a work in our lives. It’s so good. Click on the link: