James 1:2-4 gives us a God’s perspective on how to act and react to the trials He allows us to experience: “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing." (CSB)
Spurgeon says of this passage that God uses trials to “ripen” us in the faith as He uses the sun to ripen fruit. Let’s cooperate with His Holy Spirit, rejoice in the Lord, be in God’s Word daily, pray about everything, and look for ways God is using our trials to instill in us a “sweet graciousness,” as Spurgeon describes it.
Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak, Slow to Anger… and Slow to Post
My dear brothers and sisters, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for human anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness. James 1:19-20 (CSB)
In these tumultuous days of COVID-19 crisis, racial tension and riots, and politicians labeling each other enemies and other disparaging things, Christians need to pray, stay in God’s Word, and respond from a biblical worldview.
We should listen first to the Lord by hearing, reading, studying, memorizing, and meditating on Scripture. That should be the “lens” from which we process everything. What does God’s Word say? And how should I then respond and live?
We should also listen respectfully to fellow believers who see things differently than we do. We should have empathy for one another – for what someone else has been through that I have not. Also be aware of the danger of being in an “echo chamber” – of only watching the news channels and reading the blogs and Facebook posts of those who “think like I do.” Listen to other viewpoints to help you understand all sides from a Christian worldview. Speaking of a Christian worldview, I highly recommend listening to “The World & Everything In It.” I do so every day. It is a daily news podcast by World magazine, a great Christian newsmagazine. In 30-35 minutes each morning they present “biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.”
Second, we should be “slow to speak,” especially when we do not have all the facts. We should not say or post anything in the heat of the moment after watching or listening to something that irritates, angers, or scares us. Stop and pray before you speak or post something. Ask the Lord to give you the words that would bring Him the most glory when you do feel compelled to speak or post.
Are you “slow to anger?” Much of our anger is sinful – quick-tempered, selfish, etc. We are to avoid hasty speech and unrighteous anger. Let no one deceive you with empty arguments, for God’s wrath is coming on the disobedient because of these things. Therefore, do not become their partners. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (Eph. 5:6-9, CSB).
I pray that you and I will hear and apply James 1:19-20 regularly and bring Christ the glory He deserves.
Your brother in Christ,
Quotable Quote: Aging is one of the stages of life that our youth-fixated culture doesn’t prepare us for. Years ago, Dr. Packer wrote, “How should we view the onset of old age? The common assumption is that it is mainly a process of loss. But here the Bible breaks in, highlighting the further thought that spiritual ripeness is worth far more than material wealth in any form, and that spiritual ripeness should continue to increase as one gets older.” John Stonestreet, Breakpoint Daily, 7.21.20, Dr. J. I. Packer Helped So Many Know God