Wise Advice

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Today’s Scripture: James 1

Most often we cannot control what a jerkface does or doesn’t do. But, we can control our response. And, we can control whether we are a jerkface or not. The book of James gives us some practical tools to use in our daily lives, which help us pursue humility. For example, verse 19 tells us to:

Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”

Quick to listen. In Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the 6th habit is to seek first to understand, then to be understood. Too often we listen with the intent to reply instead of the intention to hear actually what the other person is saying.

James reminds us that we must be quick to listen. The old adage, “God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason,” applies here – it is more important to hear other people than to make whatever point we want to make.

Slow to speak. A verse I often quote to myself is, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable” (Proverbs 10:19 HCSB). The NLT states it this way, “Too much talk leads to sin…” and the next line says, “Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.” What more is there to say about that? HA!

But, before we move on, think about the power of words. Words can cut deep and cause much pain. James 3 continues this discussion about controlling the tongue. In fact, he goes so far as to say that “if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way” (James 3:2). It is wise (sensible) to be attentive to the advice in these verses.

Slow to get angry. Anger falls on the list of things that Paul tells us to “get rid of” in Colossians 3:8. Proverbs 29:22 says, “An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.” In contrast, “LOVE is patient and kind…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). The fruit of the SPIRIT is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Zach Williams sums up a prayer we can sing in relation to these three areas in his new song “Less Like Me:”

“Oh Lord‚ help me be
A little more like mercy‚ a little more like grace
A little more like kindness‚ goodness, love, and faith
A little more like patience‚ a little more like peace
A little more like Jesus, a little less like me.”

Which of these three areas are you currently having the most trouble with? Listening? Speaking? Or anger?

Does this post remind you of someone in your life? Does it remind you of yourself?

Next Steps:
Next time you’re dealing with a jerkface, or you’re tempted to be one yourself, pause. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit for his strength and control to help you be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.

God, on our own we are a hot mess. We are jerkfaces! What comes naturally is to make sure our point is heard, to feel justified in our anger, and to block out those we don’t want to listen to. But, with your help and the help of your Holy Spirit, we can be more like Jesus. Help us to practice the pause. Help us be patient, kind, and gentle. Help us trump the natural with your supernatural. Amen.

This post was written by Kendra Grubinski. Kendra is passionate about her relationship with Jesus and loves studying and sharing God’s Word. During the week, she is a Spanish Teacher at Findlay High School. She also enjoys spending time with her family and pups, reading, traveling, drinking good coffee and being active outdoors.

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