James 1:19-20 – This you know my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
In James’ letter, he writes of the testing of our faith, a need of wisdom and humility to be demonstrated. He writes of the blessing for the one who perseveres under trial. He deals with the subject of temptation and deception. He establishes God’s character in his statement, “All good and perfect gifts come from God, the Father of lights” (James 1:17). God brought us forth by the word of truth and James declares, “This you know.” James reminds us, “We must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
Being quick to speak is a hindrance to hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit. An evidence of maturity in the life of a believer is the ability to carefully listen to another as they share their perspective. Unfortunately, few are careful listeners. Most are caught up with their own views, rather than carefully listening to another’s perspective. The Holy Spirit will give us the ability to be a good listener if we allow Him to take control of our emotions.
The same is true about speaking. How many times has a word quickly left your mouth that you immediately wanted to pull back? Words are powerful. Note what Solomon tells us by the Spirit of God: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). The Holy Spirit desires to take control of our tongues and causes us to speak only words of life to others. By the power of God’s Spirit, the tongue can become a source of encouragement. “One who prophesies speaks to men for edification, exhortation, and consolation” (1 Corinthians 14:3).
One who speaks quickly and does not listen to the other person sets themselves up for anger. Anger is a natural part of our human makeup. Anger alone is not a sin. It becomes sin when it gets out of control and evil things happen. Things such as broken relationships, words that become difficult to forgive, rage that can lead to murder.
James focuses the believer in chapter 1:19. To paraphrase James, You know the things I have been sharing. So be a good listener, be slow to speak and don’t let anger get out of control. Beloved, the anger of man never produces the righteousness of God.
Father, I want to produce the righteousness that You have provided in the Lord Jesus Christ. I ask for the power of the Holy Spirit to control my tongue. Please cause me to be a quick listener and a slow speaker. Please protect me from unrighteous anger and demonstrate to others the patience which You have toward me.