April 8, 2021

Poetry, Written & Fulfilled by Your Life... Continuing with our James Bible Series


Happy Spring, Sweet Readers!

I hope you had a great Easter weekend and Spring is waking up all around and within you! We are continuing our study of the Book of James today! If you somehow stumbled your way over to this little corner of the interwebs and are 'new' here, and you'd like to read our earlier posts in this series, you can catch up by reading them HERE! (--scroll through to the bottom of that post to find the List of Linked Posts in this Series!)

We are focusing on James 1:19-22 today and this is where it starts to get hard!

Our verses today are JAMES 1:19-22! 

We're starting off using The Passion Translation Bible:

"My dearest brothers and sisters, take this to heart: Be quick to listen, but slow to speak. And be slow to become angry, for human anger is never a legitimate tool to promote God’s righteous purpose. So this is why we abandon everything morally impure and all forms of wicked conduct. Instead, with a sensitive spirit we absorb God’s Word, which has been implanted within our nature, for the Word of Life has power to continually deliver us. Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let his Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life!" (The Passion Translation)

You know how I keep saying that there are some hard truth verses comin' at us in James? Yeah - well, here they come.

How much better off would we be --would our culture be-- if we would just put this verse into action? 'Be quick to listen, but slow to speak.'

I mean... Right? 

And then he goes and follows that up with, 'And be slow to become angry.' --it's like he knew some things! It's like he knew that our humanness would stir us up and in the flesh we could convince ourselves that our rage was righteous.  It is not. Man, how I wish it was sometimes. However, James explains that human anger is never going to accomplish the justice and righteousness that we (think we) want!  

It's important to note here that James is, by no means, saying to do nothing... 

What he is saying is Do the Word! 

Or, as this translation puts it:

"...let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life."

I love what the footnote to this verse in The Passion Translation says this can be translated: “be a poet [doer] of the Word.”

Yes! This! 

We are in desperate need of more Poets of the Word!

I also liked in the Footnotes, it clarified who we should be listening to: "...it is obvious in the context that we should listen to one another, to God’s voice, and to his Word." and then this prayer: "May God give us listening hearts."

Yes, Lord... we pray this for ourselves... for our families and communities and country and world! Give us listening hearts that hear Your Word... Your Voice... Your Truth


In The Voice, our Scriptures read like this:

"Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters. Human anger is a futile exercise that will never produce God’s kind of justice in this world. So walk out on your corrupt liaison with smut and depraved living, and humbly welcome the word of truth that will blossom like the seed of salvation planted in your souls. Put the word into action. If you think hearing is what matters most, you are going to find you have been deceived." (The Voice)

Harness your desire to speak! Don't get worked up into a rage so easily. 

You guys? The enemy knows just how to bait us, doesn't he? 

For my own mental health, I have stopped watching the daily news. I just can't.  There is rarely, if ever, good news to be seen in the MSM. 

I am trying to put this verse into action in my life and I think it is much "easier" (ha!) to harness my desire to speak and to not get worked up into a rage so easily if I turn the TV off and step away. 

It's not that I want to hide my head in the sand or not know what is going on --it's that I MUST get to a place where I am hearing HIS Voice over all the others... I must give Him room and space and permission and time to whisper it loud what He wants me to do. Because - listen - He does not want us unaware and/or inactive! Remember - we are to be Poets... to be DOERS of the Word! (But, you guys... this means we must know the Word!)


Next, let's look at the ever trusted NASB:

"You know this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Now everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for a man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness of God. Therefore, ridding yourselves of all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not just hearers who deceive themselves." (New American Standard Bible)

Man's anger does not bring about the righteousness of God.

I think we see this, right? I mean - we have seen a LOT of 'Man's anger' on display over the last few years. (Read: longer. Much, much longer, really!) It seems the anger stirs up more anger and it can turn into a mob mentality (--I'm talking on BOTH sides, in case you were just picturing one, there!) And the trouble with all this Wokeness is --it's not working. 

It is not bringing change or healing or God's justice. For that --for that, we must actually do what this verse is telling us to do and hold our tongues and listen --to each other... to those we agree with AND to those who disagree with us, too --but ultimately and mostly - to HIM! We must lean in in the midst of all the injustice, hurt, and evil --and we must listen to Him!


Let's see how much 'extra' the Amplified offers:

"Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving]; for the [resentful, deep-seated] anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God [that standard of behavior which He requires from us]. So get rid of all uncleanness and all that remains of wickedness, and with a humble spirit receive the word [of God] which is implanted [actually rooted in your heart], which is able to save your souls. But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]." (The Amplified Bible)

I love how the Amplified expands and explains what it means to be quick to hear... to be a careful and thoughtful listener... and to be slow to speak by being a speaker of carefully chosen words... and to be slow to anger by practicing patience, reflection, and forgiveness... 

All I'm saying is the knee-jerk reaction or impulse to Comment immediately or to tweet back at someone without --WITHOUT-- carefully choosing your words and running them by and through the Holy Spirit FIRST... well, that is a chunk of the reason we are in the mess we are in right now in our world. 

So, James goes on to say that instead of letting 'resentful, deep seated anger' have its' way, we should 'actively and continually obey God’s precepts' and not be 'merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning]' but doers of the Word.

If only it was easy peasy in real life!

It's not easy to be a doer of His Word! Not on a good day and definitely not on a hard day! 

Because when we are stirred up to anger and all up in our flesh, we don't want to do His Word because His Word is Love and Grace and Kindness... 

We forget when we are in a blind rage that it is His KINDNESS that leads to repentence. 

We forget Grace is free... and not just for us, but for 'them', too!
We forget that He desires Mercy over sacrifice... 
and Mercy triumphs over Judgment!
(We'll get to that one later!)


We tend to wrap up the versions by reading Eugene Petersons' take in The Message Bible:

"Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other." (The Message)

Come on! Eugene Peterson most definitely was a Poet of the Word!
I love this visual... lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue,
and let anger straggle along in the rear! 

Yes. Yes. Yes.
  Lord, help us remember this and teach us how to do it! 


In this corner of the Interwebs, we like to close in prayer! Pray with me, won't you?

Father God, 

We love You so and we are ever grateful for Your Grace and Your Mercy. We thank You that in the midst of injustice and brokenness, You are stirred up, too! But help us to remember it is YOUR anger that is Righteous... not ours. Our anger does nothing to bring justice and righteousness into our circumstances. Instead, help us to remember to follow James' instructions! Help us to lead with our ears... to be good -no, great!- listeners. Help us to actually HEAR (and not use that time to compose our own retort!) 

Lord, I pray You will make us more like Jesus in all the ways --but in this way, specifically Lord - with all that is going on in our world... help us to be UNOFFENDABLE! Help us to give grace and the benefit of the doubt and to no longer jump to conclusions. Enable us to listen - to each other, yes - but most importantly, tune our hearts and ears to hear and know AND FOLLOW Your Voice!

Help us to remember to be Listeners of the Word,
And not only Listeners, Lord --but Doers... poets, even!
Anoint and Equip us, God, so that the Word of God is like Poetry,
written and fulfilled by our lives!
Father God, we ask you improve our Follow Through...
That we would not be hearers of the Word only, but Doers, too!

In Jesus' Name!

We'll be back in two weeks to dig into the next few verses together!

Until then, let's remember to:

Lastly, we will be linking each post in this series over on the Series Landing Page. This way if you are coming in late to the game, or simply missed a post for some reason, you can still play catch up by clicking HERE
You can also fill in the Subscribe Here bar at the top and you will be subscribed to a weekly email that will send each post to you there, as well as a monthly newsletter that comes out around the first of each month!

What stands out to you so far? What are your thoughts on the verses we covered today? Comment here or head over to our Facebook Page and Comment or Message me there! I'd really love to know!

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