Summary: How can we enjoy the blessing of God on our lives? Is it possible for a person to go to church every week and still not enjoy God’s blessing? According to James, it is. What is needed on our part for the blessing God has for us to be fully realized and en
This morning I’m reading our text from the New International Version.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 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. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 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 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 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.”
How can we enjoy the blessing of God on our lives? Is it possible for a person to go to church every week and still not enjoy God’s blessing? According to James, it is. What is needed on our part for the blessing God has for us to be fully realized and enjoyed?
This morning we will address those questions as they relate to our attitude toward the Word of God. James has given his readers some instruction. But how will they respond to that instruction? Will it make a difference in their lives? We they receive the blessing God intends or will they miss it?
How to Be a Blessed Hearer of the Word? That subject implies a possibility that we can sit under the Word and not be blessed—not experience the benefit from that Word. Wouldn’t that be a sad outcome for a person’s life? We’re here because we not only want to hear what God has to say to us; but we also want to enjoy the benefits of that Word in our lives.
How should I interact with the Word of God so that the end result is blessing?
I. Hear Instruction.
That theme runs through much of the wisdom literature in the Old Testament. It is especially prominent in the book of Proverbs. Let me give you a few examples:
Prov 1:8 “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”
Prov 4:1 “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.”
Prov 19:20 “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”
Listening is a skill most of us have to learn. We have to discipline ourselves to pay attention to what someone else is saying. If we’re not careful, instead of listening, we’re thinking about what we want to say. As a professional mediator , I deal with this all the time. If we can just get people to listen to each other—really listen—really understand what the other person is trying to say, we are half way toward a resolution of the conflict. Listening well is a key to success in life. Dale Carnegie says you can make more friends in two weeks by becoming a good listener than you can in two years trying to get other people interested in you.” The wise person will be eager to hear what others have to say—especially those who are more experienced and have led godly lives. A wise person is eager to learn—does not have to learn everything the hard way—will hear wisdom from God’s Word.
James quotes a common proverb in James 1:19. He introduces it by saying, “Take note of this”; make sure you pay attention to this—because everyone (without exception) needs this reminder. “...Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Our human tendency is to be quick to speak and slow to listen. It takes discipline to turn that around.
So how am I going to benefit from the Word of God if I don’t listen? If my mind is not focused on what is being said, the Words will tend to go in one ear and out the other.
“Quick to listen” is accompanied by the added instruction to be “slow to speak.” James is introducing a subject that he will talk about in much more depth in chapter 3. But the problem of unruly tongues is already on his mind. Listen to what James says about that in James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” In other words, a person can go to church every Sunday; but if that person leaves here and starts wagging his or her tongue and gossiping and criticizing other people, it just kind of negates the whole endeavor. What we say really matters to God. Jesus said the mouth is simply an overflow of what is in the heart (Matt. 12:34). Our words reflect what’s going on in our hearts.