19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
A Few Thoughts:
When is the last time someone heard you? I don’t mean, when is the last time someone listened to audible sounds coming out of your mouth, I’m talking about a time when you had someone’s complete attention without them checking their phone 39 times or inserting their own story in any empty space in the conversation.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone listens that way anymore.
In this book of wisdom and advice from the brother of Jesus, it’s interesting to me that James considers listening and waiting to speak as important to include as perseverance, wisdom, finances, freedom and the power of the word of God.
To me that says something huge about our culture and the way we live our lives.
The truth is this type of listening doesn’t just apply to our relationships here, but also to our relationship with God. When is the last time you listened, truly listened to the good, good father who loves you completely? When I say listening, I don’t just mean staring at a blank wall (although that’s good too), I mean journaling, sitting in silence, reading your bible, listening to worship music, reading other books (like my super unpublished manuscript), going for a run or if you’re one of those crazed, multi-tasking soccer moms – maybe all of those at the same time.
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Why would anyone choose to walk in darkness, when the word of God is a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path? (psalm 119:105 God’s directions give freedom and blessings on those who follow what they hear. (James 1:25)
So I ask, are you listening? Are you paying attention to Him?
I’ve learned that rarely does God roar above our earthly preoccupations, but rather he sits and calmly whispers like a crisp autumn breeze that oh so often is only heard by the moon or the early rising raccoon.
Today, I challenge you to listen to FULLY listen to the people in your life and to your Creator. Be slow to speak. Give someone your full attention. Be present, completely present to those around you. Listen as God calls us deeper and deeper into His beautiful way of living that starts by getting quiet.
Are you listening?
A Few Questions:
1.) When is the last time you sat down and fully listened to someone? When is the last time someone sat and fully listened to you?
2.) What makes you angry, like steam coming out of your ears furious? What action can you take today towards bringing peace to that anger?
3.) Are there areas of your life that you listen to God’s word but don’t necessarily follow? Do you believe that his word can save people? Can save you? (spoiler alert: it can)
4.) If you polled Americans and asked what is the heart of the Christian religion, what would they say? Does the “religion” God spells out in James 1:27, match modern Christianity? What actions do you take to set yourself apart from the “pollution” and to care for the least of these?
Help me to be present to the beautiful people you have placed in my life today. Challenge me to ditch the distractions and truly hear their pain and struggle. Give me the courage to make time to hear you, to say no to the millions of tasks that lay before me and simply sit at the feet of my savior.
Thank you for your incredible word that can save us, this powerful book at our fingertips that can rescue a wretch from the depths of destruction and bring him towards a beautiful Life spent loving you and loving your people. Teach me to stand out and never conform to this world that doesn’t know the first thing about Living. Guide my steps as I compose a life-song that moves people to experience your unparalleled melody.
Help me to be Jesus follower who follows the religion that James spells out, not the religious mambo-jambo that seduces too many Christians. Give me eyes to see the areas of my life that have become polluted by this world and grant me the strength to be the incredible person you created me to be.
Here I am God. Crushed and created. Broken and mended. Here I am. I am listening.
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These songs can be found in my Spotify music playlist “James” created specifically for this bible experience! Follow me for updates and great playlists!