Swift or Slow

 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20, NKJV).

This passage is properly interpreted in relation, of course, to that which James said previously, as well as to what follows. It has been customary to interpret the phrase “swift to hear” in relation to “God’s word.” One can hardly dispute the application of this, or perhaps even the interpretation.

On the other hand, the phrase “swift to hear” might be better suited to a person being swift to hear what another says, just as it is appropriate for one to be slow (and deliberate) to speak, and slow to anger. The Holy Spirit has expressed Himself: “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive” (Proverbs 17:27-28). RT

#hearing, #james

Eating Our Own Words

In reference to the words we use, James asks his readers a rhetorical question – “Does the fountain send from the same outlet sweet and bitter water?” (James 3:11 BBE)

When James used the word “bitter” he was describing words that are harsh and used with ill intent. Bitter words destroy unity, morale and trust. One of the quickest ways to destroy unity, morale and trust in the church is with the bitter words of gossip.

How can we keep from using the bitter words of gossip?

1)      When you hear about gossip address it.  When you hear someone spreading gossip about someone else ask them if they ever talked to the person that they’re talking about. If not, there’s a very good chance that what they’re saying is wrong! If you hear about someone gossiping about you, especially if it’s a brother or sister in Christ, go ask them about it (Matthew 18:15-17).

2)      Think about the way it would make you feel if someone were spreading whatever you’re saying about you or your loved ones. Some people have no problem with gossip unless it’s about them…and if that’s the problem we’ve got, then we need to keep the shoe on the other foot.

3)      If someone tells you something personal, keep it personal! Don’t go around acting like the church “TMZ.”

4)      Live in a way so when someone says something negative about you, nobody will believe it (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Some Christians love to give “impressions” and then get mad when the “impression” makes its mark.

5)      Get busy rowing the boat and you won’t have time to rock it! I will always be convinced that if a person is truly interested in making the church a better place to grow, to learn and to help others, then they won’t make messes that they’ll have to clean up.

When James used the word “sweet” he was talking about using words that bless (vs. 9) and benefit the hearers. The word sweet is translated from the Greek word Glukus pronounced gloo-koos (can you hear glucose in there?). The basic idea is that sweet words are words that refresh and give energy.

How can we remember to use words that are sweet?

1)      By being merciful with the way we talk. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6 NKJV) Paul isn’t talking about the kind of salt that goes on wounds and burns. He’s talking about the kind of salt that’s let people know you care.

2)      By strengthening others with the way we talk. “The lips of the righteous feed many,…” (Proverbs 10:21 NKJV) What would our words do to us if we had to listen to them all of the time? Would they pull the life right out of us, or put the life right in us?

3)      By complimenting others with the way we talk. “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11 NKJV) Do you know what it feels like to be genuinely complemented? Why wouldn’t we want to share a feeling like that?

We have all made mistakes with the words we use (James 3:8), but the question is are we learning from those mistakes and striving to do better? If we had to eat our words – or rather, when we have to eat them, how are they going to taste? (Matthew 12:36,37) James says we’re going to have to decide what kind of spring we’re going to have, so which will it be?

If you would like to check out more thoughts on James 3:7-12 (particularly verse 11) then continue reading here at http://keltonburgpreacher.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/how-do-our-words-taste

#gossip, #james, #kindness

The Implanted Word

I am preaching through James and this Sunday morning, my text will be James 1:21, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.”

What a great passage! What thoughts do you have on the implanted word and this passage in general? Thanks! I look forward to reading your great comments.

#james, #preaching, #scripture

Good Advice

Almost all of the sins I commit are related to the improper use of the tongue.

My class on the book of James was taught by Dr. Thomas Eaves at Tennessee Bible College. To keep from taking his notoriously difficult tests, he allowed the option of memorizing the book. This was a blessing for me.

James wrote, “So the tongue also is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how much wood is kindled by how small a fire! And the tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members is the tongue, which defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the wheel of nature, and is set on fire by hell,” (James 3:5-6 ASV).

Memorizing this has kept me from making some really big mistakes. Forgetting it has also precipitated some of my worse gaffes.

“The tongue is a fire: the world of iniquity among our members.” This advice is worth its weight in gold and is certainly worth memorization.

#advice, #james, #sin

James merely says that the judgment of t…

James merely says that the judgment of teachers will be especially strict because greater responsibility rests on teachers. The reason for this is that the teacher’s essential instrument – the tongue – which is so easily misused, has great influence.

Donald W. Burdick, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: James, p. 186

#james, #teacher, #the-tongue

Seven Deadly Practices

Those who profess faith in Christ are in one of two categories. Either they are living out the message or they are merely listening to it (James 1:22). In order to know where we stand, we must peer into the perfect law of liberty and fix our attention there (1:25). (Read more by following this link…)

#christian-life, #james, #the-proclaimer

Chiastic Arrangement in Revelation

A few weeks ago, Randal introduced me to a chiastic structure of the Letter of James. In a recent study of the Matthean Sermon on the Mount, I also learned of at least two chiastic arrangements see Matthew 5:45 and 7:6. Then yesterday as I was preparing to discuss Revelation 12 G.K. Beale caught my attention by introducing a chiastic arrangement in chapters 12-20. Just below, you can read his discovery that might offer a more lucid picture of Act 2 of The Apocalypse:

The devil is the grand initiator of the trials and persecutions of the saints. He unleashes the “beast” and the “false prophet.” The whore Babylon is also his servant. In chs. 12-20 John chiastically pictures the four figures rising in this order and then meeting their demise in the reverse order, thus highlighting the devil as the initiator, from first to last, of all resistance (The Book of Revelation, 623).

#chiasma, #james, #matthew, #revelation

Spiritual Maturity

Just a quick thought, as I’m outlining an Introduction to the Letter of James, “Spiritual maturity translates Christians into victors instead of victims!”

#james, #maturity, #spiritual-growth