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Humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts. James 1:21

7-3-2008
My dear brothers and sisters, be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.  Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.  So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.  For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror.  You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like.  But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.

If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.   James 1:19-26

Notes on verses 19, 20

These verses speak of anger that erupts when our ego is bruised:  “I am hurt;” “My opinions are not being heard.”  When injustice and sin occur, we should become angry because others are being hurt.  But we should not become angry when we fail to win an argument or when we feel offended or neglected.  Selfish anger never helps anybody.

Notes on verses 22-25

It is important to listen to what God’s Word says, but it is much more important to obey it and to do what it says.  We can measure the effectiveness of our Bible study time by the effect it has on our behavior and attitudes.  Do you put into action what you have studied?

I read this scripture passage and think, “this is clear, I don’t need to say anything more.”  And, I would love to leave it at that.  But then I think, there are people out there, some of my faithful readers, and some that will just “happen by” and read this that may want another person’s thoughts on these verses.  So, write I will.

How easy it is to get angry when my toes get stepped on, yet how extremely difficult it is to speak a “gentle answer that turns away wrath.”  (A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.  Proverbs 15:1)  I have found that only when I have given myself over to the Lord have I been able to speak a gentle answer.  It is when I am self absorbed that my anger usually erupts.  And usually, I know exactly what I am doing and what is going on.  For instance, I know what the bible says about husbands, wives, anger and how I should live my life, yet, I have been very angry lately.  I have been very concerned with how I’ve been treated, all the while, knowing that isn’t how the scriptures would guide me to live my life.

If your enemies are hungry, give them food to eat.  If they are thirsty, give them water to drink.  You will heap burning coals of shame on their heads, and the Lord will reward you.   Proverbs 25:21-22

Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable.  Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.  Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord.  Instead,  “If your enemies are hungry, feed them.  If they are thirsty, give them something to drink.  In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”  Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.  Romans 12:17-21

Has my bible study led to changed behavior?  Initially it did, until I was tested…Isn’t that the way of it though.  However, I believe that I’m on the right path.  I’ve invited the Lord and wait in full expectation for Him to come into my life, heart, my husbands life and heart and our situation to make it right.  In this past week, I have chosen to remain quiet instead of argue several times.  And if I was getting riled up, I removed myself from the situation instead of driving headlong into an argument.

My husband knows the bible as well as I do, yet I don’t see nor hear him speak of a desire to be broken and have a contrite heart in front of the Lord.  This to me is of major concern.  This is what I desire for myself and this is what I desire for my husband.  To be led by the Lord in everything, every mundane aspect of our daily lives, to strive to be one with Jesus and each other.  That is my greatest desire, yet, it is unmatched in the heart and thoughts of my husband.  To be completely honest, though I have been considerably selfish in my anger, all that has happened in the past I could forgive and move on with, I do and I’m working on it.  But, what hurts and angers me the most is that if my husband showed a desire, a life changing, path altering, about turn and allowed the Word of God to infiltrate his heart and mind, these things would never have happened to the extent that they did and things would drastically improve over time.

I guess, that is the bottom line for me.  A person that seeks the Lord wholeheartedly will change in behavior, sometimes drastically, when they seek Him and wait patiently on Him and then especially when they are changed by Him.  The manifestation of the Lord’s work in anyone’s life is seen in how they think about and treat other people, regardless of their situation or their relationship with others.

My husband and I have a lot of work to come together in unity, as one.  But, I cannot continue to focus on his lack of desire to implement God’s Word in his life, and instead, I must focus on me and implementing God’s Word in my life.

I am seeking God earnestly.  I am waiting patiently for Him to act.  I’m in this for the long haul and the Lord will hear my prayers and He will turn His face to me and He will answer.

My husband’s anger in the past angered me.  My anger has angered him.  Anger breeds anger.  At some point, one of us must rely on God and His mercy so that this never ending cycle will stop.  (I would that it would stop abruptly, but my experiences with God show that won’t probably happen, at least for me.)  So, I claim the divine power of the Word and I expect the Lord to work.  I will strive to refrain from selfish anger and only answer with a gentle answer.  God can heap coals of fire on his head or God can change his heart…that’s up to God.

Today, I have spoken about the things that I have observed in my husbands life.  I cannot speak about the heart.  God knows his heart, I only know what I see.  So, though I have spoken of my husband, I have also spoken of my short comings and what I see that I must do in order to be right with God myself.

That said, one last thing, have I humbly accepted the word that God has planted in my heart?  What does it mean to humbly accept that word?  I believe that by humbly accepting it, we deny ourselves daily, our frustrations, angers, even our wants and desires if they don’t line up with the Word of God.  I believe that we turn to the Lord and accept all that is wrong with us, take responsibility for it and then strive to change it so that we will honor God with our efforts.  I believe that we humbly accept God’s word when we turn to God and seek Him, allowing Him to uproot and change whatever needs to be changed in our hearts and minds.

I am not the poster child for humbly accepting God’s word.  But, I have been compelled to do better at humbly accepting God’s word.  What about you?

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24

May God provide the increase.

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