Summary: This is about keeping our walk fresh.
Turn with me to James chapter 1.
Read James 1:17-27.
James was a most practical writer, and here we see his practicality shine through. We see some the basic ideas of the walk. The Christian life has often been called a walk. You can tell a lot about a person by their walk. Someone who is using crutches may have a broken leg. Someone who is limping has some other problem. Someone who is running confidently and swiftly is probably healthy. Someone who keeps looking over their shoulder is probably being chased or followed. We can tell a lot about a person when we look at the way they walk.
Others can tell a lot about our relationship with Jesus based on our Christian walk. How does your walk measure up today? James offers us some things to look for in our own life to see if we are walking right with Jesus. The first thing is…
Jesus said, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Being meek doesn’t make someone a wimp. Meekness seeks the good of others over the good of ourselves. Meekness is the opposite of malice. When something is malicious it is done with the intent to harm someone else.
There are four aspects to meekness. The first is…
A. A Quick Ear
What is one of the hardest things to do? Listen. Listening is difficult. There are a couple old sayings. One goes, “God gave us two ears and one mouth because he knew that it’s twice are hard to listen as it is to talk.” The other goes, “We have two ears and one mouth because we should spend twice as much time listening as we do talking.” Listening is difficult. Listening is an active behavior. Our brain must be fully engaged to listen.
One of the biggest complaints that people lodge against their doctor is that the doctor won’t listen to them.
What exactly is listening? One definition says listening is “the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages.”
Most people say that they are good listeners, but the truth is most of us aren’t. One of the keys in the sales profession is to listen to the customer and see what they want.
Our relationships with others will be so much better if we stop and listen. The same is true of our relationship with God. We must stop and listen to him. Listening, especially to God, requires stillness. We must be able to stop and listen. Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Often as Jesus taught, he followed up his teaching with the phrase, “He who has ears, let him hear.”
We must be “quick to hear,” as verse 19 tells us. The second aspect of meekness is…
B. A Cautious Tongue
Talking and listening are two things that we cannot do simultaneously. They are mutually exclusive activities. Our brains are amazing. It is incredible how much the human brain can do, but listening and talking at the same time is impossible.
One professor that I had in college encouraged his students to participate in class discussion. He graded on whether or not we participated in the discussion. One caution that he gave was that we should not be excessive in our participation. He wanted everyone to have a chance to be heard. I’ll never for what he said. He said, “If you hear your voice more than anyone else, you are talking too much.” We would do well to apply that to our daily lives. It’s amazing how much we can learn by observing and listening. We don’t learn anything while we are talking.
One scholar put it this way, “The truly wise and godly person in scripture is not the one who always has something to say but the person who listens to others, prayerfully considers, and only then speaks in measured tones.” We must carefully consider what is going to come out of our mouth.
Our words are like toothpaste in a tube. Once toothpaste comes out of a tube, it is impossible to get it back in the tube. Once words pass over our lips, it is impossible to get them back.
In our relationship with God, we must be slow to speak, not for fear of offending God, but for the simple fact that we can’t listen and talk at the same time. We must “be still and know that [he] is God.”
The third aspect of meekness is…
C. A Calm Temper
Whenever someone brings up the subject of controlling our anger, someone else always brings up the fact that Jesus got angry with the moneychangers in the Temple. While it is true that Jesus got angry with the moneychangers, that doesn’t give us license to fly off the handle and get in a rage and go do something that we will later regret. Anger rarely accomplishes anything that God desires.