Summary: The message looks at how we might clean out our lives to become more Christlike in our listening, speaking, and especially, in dealing with anger.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
Jesus is the reason we can even begin to look at control of our listening, speaking, anger, and actions. Without Him nothing would be possible when it comes to the attitudes of the heart. Without the assurance from the Father of the Lord and Savior we could not accomplish the inward changes that are described. Everything begins with the greatest "Good Gift", God’s only Son Christ Jesus as found in James 1:18.
Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He got nervous and tense about it. "I was snapping at my wife and our children, choking down my food at mealtimes, and feeling irritated at those unexpected interruptions through the day," he recalled in his book Stress Fractures. "Before long, things around our home started reflecting the patter of my hurry-up style. It was becoming unbearable.
"I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ’Daddy, I wanna tell you somethin’ and I’ll tell you really fast.’
"Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ’Honey, you can tell me -- and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly." "I’ll never forget her answer: ’Then listen slowly.’"
1. The Talk
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.
Quick to listen implies that you are listening not speaking. The Greek wise men had a rule to listen very carefully before responding. That way, you can give a right answer to the situation. The rabbi’s and Jewish teachers said, "Speak little and do much!" The righteous speak little, and do much; the wicked speak much, and do nothing. The son of Sirach says, “Be swift to hear, and with deep consideration give answer.” James again says, "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak."
James does not stop with speaking and listening but goes to the heart of many caustic occurrences in the church, anger. Of all the problems that occur and continue to occur over the life of a church or believer anger is central. James says,
Slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.
One commentary said, “There are four kinds of dispositions. “First, Those who are easily incensed, and easily pacified; these gain on one hand, and lose on the other. Secondly, those who are not easily incensed, but are difficult to be appeased; these lose on the one hand, and gain on the other. Thirdly, those who are difficult to be incensed, and are easily appeased; these are the good. Fourthly, those who are easily angered, and difficult to be appeased; these are the wicked.” Those who are hasty in speech are generally of a peevish or angry disposition. A person, who is careful to consider what he says, is not likely to be soon angry. (Adam Clarke’s Commentary on the NT)