1. Today in just a few words James teaches us one of the most important lessons we can ever learn. Not only practical but key to becoming mature Christians. To be mature is to have the righteousness that God desires, and according to James oneof biggest obstacles to righteousness is anger.
2. Whether it is the expression or the suppression of anger, anger prevents us from living in holiness and love and joy and peace.
3. James offers to us three gems of wisdom. Only the last has to do with anger but I believe that if we follow the first two the third will be much easier.
1. First - we are to be quick to listen.
a. This is not easy for us. Once a young man came to the great philosopher Socrates to be instructed in public speaking. The moment the young man was introduced he began to talk without sopping. This went on for some time. When Socrates could get in a word, he said, "Toung man, I will have to charge you a double fee." The young man looked puzzled "A double fee, why is that?" Socrates answered "I will have to teach you two sciences. First, how to hold your tongue, and then, how to use it.".
b. We are much quicker tp speak than we are to listen.
2. We must learn to listen to God and to listen to others.
a. The context of this verse indicates James is mainly telling us to listen to God. In ves. 19, "take note of this’ could be translated as "therefore", which of course connects us with what was previously said. In vs. 18 James said that wehave been chosen to new life through the word of truth. vs. 21 contains a call to receive the word and vs. 22-25 stresses the doing of the word
b. James is stressing the content of what we listen to. Solomon once wrote "Of making many books there is no end." How much more are these words true today. We are bombarded by books and sounds and sights. Everyone is trying to get our attention. God wants us to listen to Him, for He is the primary source of all knowledge and wisdom.
c. His word is a word of life. We must listen to God in order to know Him and to know how to live.
Prov 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
Prov 1:33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."
Prov 2:1-5 My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.
- 2 Tim 3:16-17 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
d. When we listen to God and become equipped and remember what He has done for us we are humbles and less prone to anger.
3. But I believe the call is also a call to listen to one another. Even in our ministry we must hear what people are saying. Then we can apply God’s word to where they were at. Jesus asked many questions to the woman at the well. He listened to her. It also showed that he cared for her.
a. Often those who are sick, lonely or dying don’t need someone to tell them anything. They know already that their hope is in Christ. They simply need someone to lisetn to them - to let them know they are still alive. I remember one man who was dying. He felt like people were trying to help so much they weren’t listening to him. He felt that he was already gone or treated like he had already died.
b. In our relationships it is so importnat to listen. A bad habit I have and others do is that we think we know what other is going to say and we cut them off. Instead of listening we are formulating our answer
c. We must listen carefully to the other person, but we must also listen with more than our ears. We must listen to the body language, to what person is not saying. In fact if we are able to listen better then we will understand better and will not be so prone to anger.