This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
November 1, 2018
When people achieve great goals, they always talk about the difficulties and challenges that preceded their accomplishments. Those who have run a marathon, climbed Mt. Everest, overcome a major financial setback, or triumphed through personal tragedy have stories of wanting to quit the challenge that was set before them. However, it was through daily meeting the challenge that they experienced a better outcome.
We know that we will face many challenges, but often the internal challenges are even more difficult than those that come from outside. James, the half-brother of Jesus Christ, issued a challenge to believers for how they are to act when they are offended. These three challenges run counter to our normal fleshly desires when we are angry, but by God’s grace we can grow in what He desires for us.
CHALLENGE 1: When offended, be quick to hear. This means that when someone offends us, instead of offering immediate correction we are to seek to listen. Listening is a learned behavior where we reserve judgment until we truly seek to understand what is being conveyed by another. Oftentimes, we believe we already understand and immediately turn off our ears because we have been offended and have no need to understand the person. God tells us that listening is a skill we must seek to develop under the power of the Holy Spirit prior to the moments that we are offended. Listening to God and others is of primary importance.
CHALLENGE 2: When offended, be slow to speak. Often the moment that we are angry is the moment that we open our mouths. Perhaps we speak directly to the person who offended us, or we gossip to others and slander their character. Speaking without listening may lead to mistakes in judgment and certainly leads to the sin of hurting other people. Since speaking comes from the overflow of our hearts, it becomes imperative that Jesus daily shapes our heart to align with His so that in the moment of anger we may shut our mouths and listen intently, with the purpose of understanding the truth.
CHALLENGE 3: When offended, be slow to anger. One of the reasons we have difficulty listening and being silent when we are offended is because we become angry very quickly. Immediate anger points to the fact we are not allowing the Lord to be Lord over our circumstances. When we control, manipulate, and drive our outcomes, we become angry when somebody doesn’t act or say the things that help us. God is inviting us to be transformed by Him so that He can be in control of outcomes and we can simply trust Him.
The reason for these three challenges is that man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. Simply put, every time you act in anger – YOU LOSE. You will never experience or achieve the outcome that God intended through your anger. Learning to listen, learning to be silent, and learning to be slow to anger can only be accomplished by the Spirit of God by regularly spending time with Him and allowing Him to mold and shape you.
Will you allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control today as you seek after Him?
Dear Jesus. I recognize that oftentimes I want to be in control and manipulate circumstances to accomplish my desired outcome. Lord, change me and help me to trust You best in all my relationships so that You would get the glory. Lord, I trust You’re best for me today. Amen.