LISTENING AND HEARING
19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life 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 a man 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 the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his 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.
James is speaking here of something deeper than words that have double meanings. He is speaking about not merely hearing words but actually applying them to our lives.
James wants to know if the people reading this information are hearing what he is saying.
This whole section is devoted to being practical in our faith.
ONE: IN THE LONG AND SHORT OF IT, ANGER DOES NOT CONSISTENTLY PRODUCE GOOD RESULTS. VS 19-20.
We all know people that are not happy unless they are mad.
Gods Word has a better plan. The better plan is to be slow about speaking and being angry.
Anger eats at our spiritual lives. It weakens us spiritually and inhibits our spiritual growth.
Listening carefully and speaking deliberately will help us be the people God wants us to be.
TWO: IN THE LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT FOLLOWING THE WORD OF GOD WORKS A WHOLE LOT BETTER. VS 21.
The alternative to flying off the handle and losing it all the time is to follow the Word of God.
First, it saves a lot of headaches and helps you and me to be more righteous than we are when we are being bears about things.
Secondly, the more we act and react according to the Word the easier it becomes to be led and counselled by the Word.
James was asking for a heart change, yes. But he was also asking for a behavioural change.
It is a whole lot smarter to act on what they knew to be right than to act in ways they knew to be wrong.
The application: act right on what you know and the Lord will bless accordingly.
THREE: WHEN YOU HEAR SOMETHING THAT IS RIGHT IT PAYS TO APPLY IT. VS 22-25.
James illustrates what he means.
Vs 22 says that if you hear something and you know it to be right, then go ahead and do it.
Vs 23-24 says that kind of lying to yourself, that knowing right and not doing right, is as useless as looking in a mirror and forgetting what you look like.
The payoff comes in vs 25. If you do what is right based on what you know it will come back to bless you.
Blessings from the Lord are not apples to apples. When we hear what is right and we do it, blessings come. Doesn’t matter who you are or what you do.
FOUR: TO KNOW WHAT IS IN A MAN’S HEART JUST LISTEN TO HIM SPEAK. VS 26.
James is slowly taking us deeper into the point of doing the right thing based on what you know.
If you want to find out what a man believes just listen to him speak.
The only way for someone to see the heart of a man is to listen what comes out of his mouth.
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
We see this every day. We hear it in the news all the time.
FIVE: TO SEE WHAT A MAN REALLY BELIEVES WATCH WHAT HE DOES WITH HIS TIME. VS 27.
James says that if you want to know what a man really believes watch what he does with his time.
James states that God regards those who help the needy and keeps their hands clean as living right.
If you want to follow Jesus then you have to be willing to get dirty.
What we do matters. What we do proves what we believe. What we do testifies to our values.
The only thing that is enough is doing what we know we ought to do.
Get off your good intentions, check your “amens” at the door and get busy. Quit talking and start doing.
Do something like Jesus would do.
Don’t try to be holy like people you think are holy.
Just follow the Word of God, do what it says and the Lord will help you figure out the rest.
Your heart will follow your hands.