James 1:19-25: LISTENING AND DOING – 5-7-19 Devotional

James 1:19-25: LISTENING AND DOING – 5-7-19 Devotional

James 1:19-25         Kevin E. Jesmer

Key Verse: 1:25     5-7-19

“But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (25)

Dear Lord Heavenly Father, thank you for your word granted to us daily. I have neglected a focused study of your word for too long. My soul longs for communion with you through your word. Help me to find a way to write on all of the chapters of James. Illuminate me today with our truth. I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

Part 1: Humbly Accept the Planted Word (19-21)

Verses 19-21, “19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” (ESV)

James was imploring Christians to display a certain kind of character as they live in this world. They must be marked by people who have their emotions in check. Christians should be known as those who are quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry. They are called to advertise Jesus in this world. They are called to be peacemakers. They are called to befriend and communicate with the people of the world, so that they may share the Gospel with them. They are called to communicate civilly and lovingly with people, believers and non-believers.

Look at verse 20b, “…for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” God wants his people to reflect his character. God is quick to hear and slow to speak and slow to anger. If we reflect on how God deals with each of us, each and every day, then we will discover that this is his character. And so, a Christian who wants to glorify God in his/her life must strive to reflect these characteristics.

To be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger is even reflected in our anatomy, for you see God gave us one mouth and two ears. We should use them in the proper proportion. This verse shows us the best way. You cannot go wrong with this advice.

Anger is a unique moral failing. It is an emotion that can drive a high wall between you and others. If you become angry with someone, they may never forget it. That is why a servant of God must control their anger. You can never minister to people and display your anger at the same time. People expect to see Jesus in us. They want to see Christ likeness from us. If we follow James’ direction in this passage, to be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, then God will bear his fruit in our hearts.

There are times when I don’t think before I act. I just react. Angry reactions seem to produce quicker results. But I know that angry reactions to another’s words or deeds can never produce a godly life; nor can a mind/heart full of filthiness and rampant wickedness (v. 21a) produce a life that pleases God and glorifies God. What can I do? What can anyone do?

Look at verse 21b, “…receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.” The righteous life that God desires grows out of the word planted in our hearts. The word is planted when we hear God’s word and humbly accept it. This word leads us to our Savior.

That is why personal Bible study is so important. Through it, God can plant his word in our hearts. That word will sprout and grow and produce the righteousness of God within us. I pray that through this study of James our whole congregation can have the word of God implanted in our hearts and the righteousness of God can be produced, through which the Gospel may shine forth.

Part 2: God’s Word Is A Mirror (22-25)

Verses 22-25, “22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.” (ESV)

Studying God’s word is like looking into a mirror. We look, and see ourselves momentarily and then go away and forget what we look like. We don’t know how much we are in need of the Savior, Jesus. This is not right, for we are ignoring the perfect law. We fail to taste the liberty that the law of God brings, remaining entrapped by one sin or another. We cannot be blessed by God when we ignore the perfect law and walk away with no self-awareness before God.

Here is the corollary to all of this. If we overcome our feelings and look intently into the perfect law of God and continue to do so, not forgetting what we have seen, we will become doers of the word. We will find real freedom. God will grant us perseverance to follow him. We will be blessed.

How can we reconcile our obedience bringing about God’s blessing and God blessing us by his sovereign will, regardless of our obedience? I believe that God’s blessing is all part of his sovereignty. Yes, it is coupled to our obedience to his word, but our obedience is wrought through a meditation on his word. He brings forth the fruit of obedience in our lives.

What blessing comes from our obedience? Going back to verse 21b, the fruit is producing the righteousness of God. We exude the aroma of Christ. We grow in Jesus’ image. We grow in our faith and come to know Jesus more. We taste the peace of God that surpasses human understanding.

Obedience actually requires an attitude if obedience. There are times when obedience does not come naturally. We need to wake up in the morning and say to ourselves, “How does God want me to obey him today.” This too is all about God’s grace. God produces this attitude of obedience within us when we look intently into his word. I pray that God may grow an attitude of obedience in my heart.

How can I put the word of God into practice now? Julie and I can trust God with our jobs. (Matt 6:33) We can obey God with direction we find within the church, like a factual study of the Book of James, or the different missions we serve. We can step through the open doors of ministry that God has provided, like praying with people in their crisis and making time to share God’s word and God’s love with those in need. There is practical obedience, like going to work at the hospital because God wants me there to serve people in need. God wants to me glorify him in that setting.

Prayer: Lord, help me to look into the mirror of your word every day. Help me to live according to that word. Work in me through your word until I can reflect your image.

One Word: Look intently into God’s word and allow God to work.

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