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By: Rachel Lowman

James 1:19-21, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” (NLT)

These verses in James flow directly to my depths and pierce my core. I long to be "quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry." I want to live a life where the Word flows from my heart, lips, hands, and feet...where all I do can be summed up in Christ.

Quick to listen and slow to speak must work hand-in-hand with one another. Recently I was tested in combining the two when my geology professor taught the earth formed through evolution. I wanted to stand up and shout, "You don't get it! You completely missed the point!" But what good would that do other than make me stick out like a sore thumb for the rest of the semester?

No, it was much better for me to keep my mouth shut. You see, we are sinful and often react imperfectly to situations. When we respond in anger, we lack the love that is patient, kind, not boastful or proud or rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, and keeps no record of wrong (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Through silence we can become more reliant on Christ to reign over our hearts, teaching us to be more like Him.

Being slow to get angry is the hardest part of the verse for me to apply. James continues with this wisdom: Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. My anger toward what my geology professor said against God creating the universe was immense. I reacted to his words with my sinful nature, and not the nature of Christ in me. No matter how I want to excuse it or overlook it, this anger does not bring the righteousness God desires of me.

He wants us to grow in Him, to dwell in Him. He knows exactly what you and I need. Though we may not understand it, we have access to the Father’s love for us which is infinitely wide and deep and long and vast. That love transcends our shortcomings, anger, mistakes, and struggles. Christ rids us of our “evil and filth,” making us blameless and pure. He desires for us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. You and I only reach that point in Him.

I pray we remember these verses and go back to them continually. They lay out a simple blueprint to building our walk with Christ. Slow to react to any struggle, continually asking, "Where am I today in relation to where I should be?”


Lord, I come before You with the weight of my sin and ask You to forgive me for speaking when I should be silent. Help me to learn to trust You in all circumstances, for I am nothing without You. Thank You for sending Your Son as a sacrifice for my sin; I am so unworthy. You are worthy of my praise! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

30 Days to Taming Your Tongue: What You Say (and Don't Say) Will Improve Your Relationships by Debbie Smith Pegues

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Brett Harris

Think About It:

Do I allow the evil and filth of this world to infiltrate my day?

How often do I think before I speak?

Live It:

In psychology there is an exercise that helps people stop and become conscious and prayerful about their actions. This exercise would help when it comes to listening, speaking and becoming angry. Allow this to be a part of your day and see what God can do with your realization of Him being King.

Power Verses:

James 1:2-4, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (NLT)

Proverbs 15:33, “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.” (NIV)

© 2009 by Rachel Lowman. All rights reserved.
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Tell Us About It:

When have you been quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awsome! I realy needed it. Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really needed this too today. It's amazing how something that didn't seem so relevant to me a few days ago is very relevant now. (I thought I was doing fine with being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry...I was proven wrong this morning.) Thanks Rachel!

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