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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#1092. Be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry (4/7/24)

Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily devotional where we are in our Summer Inspiration series. Today, we reflect on what it means for us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to become angry. 

To watch this devotional, follow the link below:

‘My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…’ (James 1:19)

I’m sure that we all, regularly, have the experience of having a ‘conversation’ with someone only for them to talk about themselves for most of the time! However, if this our shared experience, then we must all fall into this! The truth is that unless we become aware of this weakness and propensity - of not listening - we are unaware that we are being quick to speak and slow to listen. I think that most of us struggle to listen well. Here, James, is teaching the members of this church to love each other by taking an interest in one another - and listening and showing empathy to one another is a great expression of love!

Added to this, we are also to be ‘slow to anger’. Anger - ‘human anger’ -  we are told, is not productive:

‘Because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.’ (James 1:20)

A great way to overcome anger in our relationships is by listening well so as to understand people. Another important aspect to understand is the link between speaking and emotions. If one begins to give vent to anger toward someone, the very speaking is fuel for the fire. You’ll have experienced, I’m sure, someone speaking in a controlled but angry tone getting louder and more uncontrolled as they continue to express themselves. This is why we should be slow to speak, particularly if we are angry.  

We are told to ‘take note of this’. lifestyle change and changes to our habits don’t often come by accident! Change begins by ‘taking note’ of what we want to stop doing - talking too much -  and taking note of what God wants us to become - good listeners. A good way to ‘take note’ is to purposely engage in a new behaviour until it becomes habitual. Next time you have a conversation, pay attention to asking questions about what the person is speaking about rather than, as is often the case, using what the other person is saying as inspiration for you to tell an anecdote about yourself! 

Secondly, and more importantly, this is about hearing God. We are to be quick to listen to God. We read later in the chapter:

‘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 someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.  But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.’ (James 1:22-25) 

Again, as in our conversations with people, are we doing all the talking rather than listening to God? Do we read the Bible but fail to slow down and pray about what God wants to say to us? In our praying, do we only pray through our requests and needs - which is important - but are we also listening to God and praying about the things that He’s inspiring in us? Specifically, in regard to this text, how will you be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry? 


Community group notes and study

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News. 

2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you? 

3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.

4. Study and pray together

Our message on Sunday was entitled, Don’t Settle for Second Best; the theme, from Exodus, was on how we are to prize the presence of God and not settle for second best in our lives. 

Please read 1 Samuel 13:14 and discuss: 

  • What would you say is the main message of this text and account of Saul and David that surrounds it?

  • Did God speak to you about anything specifically from Sunday’s message?

  • How was David’s heart different from Saul’s?

  • How does this text lead us to Christ and to deeper worship and trust in Him? 

  • How can we develop and protect our heart so as to be more like Christ (and David)? 

  • SIV - How will a heart that is after God’s own heart lead us into mission? 

  • SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ recently?

  • SIV - Spend some time together talking and praying about who and how you are seeking to bring your community to Jesus. 

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