Wednesday, February 19, 2014

God Speaks To Me - Loudly and Clearly

I remember years ago hearing Chuck Swindoll comment on how God's Word is as time-less as it is time-ly.

I've always remembered that. As times change, so do social norms and the cut of your pantaloons, but not Sacred Scripture. Timeless and timely.

Our epistle reading this morning was from the first chapter of James:
Know this, my dear brothers and sisters:
everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger
for anger does not accomplish
the righteousness of God.
To-day's passage continues a bit, but holy mackeral! I didn't need any more!!

God was talking to me, and I didn't need a ton of extra instruction and Bible Commentary notes to help me see the meaning.

i) Everyone should be quick to hear...
Yes, everyone.
I think he means here to really listen well. Not just to be quiet while I'm thinking of something to say next. Listen. Really hear what the person is saying.
Let me, from my own existence, give a recent non-example:
"Well So and so is supposed to skate tonight..."
(Distracted) "Yeah?"
"She's in the short program and I think she's seeded third"
"Ooohh" (With all of the feigned interest I can muster)
This, I think, is not what James means by 'quick to hear'.

ii) Slow to speak...
I was told once that God gave us two ears and one mouth. Therefore, the relative amounts of speaking and listening should be in relative proportion.
I taught in high- and middle-school classrooms for twenty years and I have done quite a bit of talking. Many of the kids I've worked with would say that I've done more than my fair share. But I like to tell stories, and children forced to sit in uncomfortable metal (or plastic) chairs for 50 minutes at a time are a particularly forgiving audience: they value the grade I will ultimately give them so they don't let me know that my joke was absolutely horrid and my lecture is boring them to a state of neurosis. (Extreme symptoms included counting the holes in the ceiling tiles or texting 'I love you' to their mothers.) So, I took advantage of these captive audiences often.
I'm a bit off topic, but I do need to learn to not talk every single time a thought pops into my brain.

iii) Slow to anger...
I fail here regularly; daily, it seems.
As opposed to 'quick to anger', which shows no self-control and a lot of self-ishness.

I wonder what my home life would be like if I was 'slow to anger'.
I wonder how much more my wife would trust me and open herself up to me if I was 'slow to anger'.
I wonder if my bosses opinion of me would be any better if I was 'slow to anger'.


Jesus, my soul laid bare before You, I am convicted once again
Thank You for loving me so much that you don't ever quit teaching me, guiding me, nurturing me.
Forgive my self-ishness; turn my heart toward others.
Let me be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
Be glorified always 
And I love You, too.


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