James 1:19–20 (NKJV)
19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
James starts chapter one by talking about trials. It is interesting that he says “when” instead of “if,” as it pertains to trials. We will face trials during our time on this earth. There is absolutely no questioning that. Whether that trial is sickness, temptation, persecution or something completely different, the promise is that we are going to face trials, the question is how are we going to face them?
While James certainly offers great wisdom when he tells us we should be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath when it comes to trials, is that not sound advice for all aspects of our life? All of this ultimately produces patience, endurance, steadfastness, and perseverance. All of these characteristics work together to bring us faithfully to the Lord during a trial or hardship.
Swift To Hear
How important is it to hear what the Lord is teaching us during a trial. Luke 11:28 reminds us, “More than that, blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it!” The idea is that we should be in the Word as we are going through tribulation, that the Lord may speak to us through it. We should be seeking that out with diligence.
As we face trials and we have Christian friends offering biblical counsel, we should be swift to hear what they are saying. Likewise, as we are offering counsel, we should be swift in hearing what the brother or sister is going through instead of jumping to conclusions.
Slow To Speak
Here is the tough one right? When we pray for guidance, if you are anything like me, I talk, and talk, and talk, then say “in Jesus name, amen.” I am all about speaking, but I do not take the time to hear what the Lord is saying. It is those times in which I actually sit in silence, being slow to speak that the Lord speaks to me the most.
As a friend, we have to be slow to speak, making sure that we have a complete understanding before giving advice. Being slow to speak also gives us time to pray, seeking the wisdom God promises to give those who love Him.
Slow To Wrath
Nothing good can come from wrath. If we are continually seeking the Lord through a trial and we are slow to speak, and swift to hear, that should naturally give way to being slow to wrath.
We must face the trials of life with complete faith in the Lord. As we seek guidance in a trial, we must do so being swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. Have confidence in our Lord that the trials we face will shape the steadfastness we have in Him.
Matthew 28:20 (NIV)
20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”