May 16, 2018- Are You Listening?

The last time we were in James, what were we talking about?

·         Endurance through trials

o   Seeing trials as joy

o   Endurance being produced through those trials

o   Endurance allowing us to continue

·         Godly wisdom

o   Asking God for wisdom and guidance

o   Trusting the wisdom of God over our own instincts.

·         Not being double-minded

This week we are in James 1:19-25.

Let’s break down it down:

·         You already knew

o   He begins these verses with, “This you know”.

o   He is not revealing new information to this church. They have already heard these things, just like we have when we read it and see what he is saying.

o   There are times that people have to remind us of what we already know because we can be very forgetful.

·         Shh…someone is speaking

o   Quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger (v19)

o   How many of us like to talk more than we listen?

o   Ever heard “two ears, one mouth…listen more than you speak”? There is truth in that.  

o   We need to be willing to listen and think things through before we react. We can have a bad habit of someone doing something and us immediately feeling like we need to retaliate.

o   When we speak before we listen we can put our foot in our mouth.

§  It can get us in trouble letting our emotions dictate our speech.

§  NLT- Proverbs 29:20-- “there is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.”

o   When we are quick to be angry, or have a bad temper, it causes more trouble than good.

§  Ecclesiastes 7:9 states, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.

·         Why are you so mad?

o   For the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God. (20)

o   When we get angry we think that it is justified, no matter what caused it, because it happened to us.

§  What we need to think about, especially in reference to this verse, is why does it make us angry.

·         If it is because we didn’t get what we wanted, we are being immature.

·         Anger is only justified if it is righteous anger. That means if it lines up with scripture, but even still, we are supposed to wait on God to move because Romans 12:19 tells us “never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God.”

 

·         When we get angry at other people, instead of only focusing on that, focus on what you have done to make God angry. The fact that He continues to show us undeserved mercy should give us the desire to show that same mercy to those who anger us.

 

§  What about when we are angry at God?

·         Change clothes

o   Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness (21a)

o   Putting aside”—Like taking off dirty clothes (Mud run. You aren’t going to put dirty clothes back on.)

o   It can be very difficult to do this. We battle with the flesh daily, and sometimes those temptations can chime in louder than the voice of the Holy Spirit. We fall to those temptations. The key is though, to not stay down in that pit but to get up and strive to fight the temptation the next time. The more we trust the Holy Spirit, the easier it is to say no to those temptations. It takes self-control and spiritual discipline.

·         Grow roots, not weeds

o   In humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. (21b)

o   Who knows about gardening?

§  If you plant seed in a bed of weeds, what happens? The weeds take all the nutrients and the plant won’t be able to grow.

§  If we pull the weeds and prepare the soil for this plant, does the plant not have a much better chance at growing and becoming what it was designed to be?

·         When we hear the word of God, we need to listen intently and remove any hindrances in our lives. If there is sin in our lives that we are struggling with, we need to ask God to remove it from our lives so that the Word can nurture us so that we may become the children of God that we were called to be.

·         Check the mirror

o   But prove yourself doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” (22-24)

§  We need to look in the mirror seriously (We do it every day before we leave the house) …what if you grew a zit overnight?

·         Carefully study the Bible, and carefully listen to those Biblical teachers in your life. Listen to the Holy Spirit as He speaks to you.

§  We need to take what we see to heart. (get rid of the zit)

§  When we only listen, but do not apply we forget what was said and our lives do not change.

§  How many of you find it easier to remember what we talked about on Wednesday nights since you started taking notes in your journal?

§  Do you take the weekly challenges seriously in your small group? Has that helped you grow?

§  We need to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us so that we begin to look more like Christ and less like the world.

o   When we only listen and don’t act on those words, we are like this man in verse 23 who looks at the mirror, walks away and forgets what he saw.

o   This whole illustration is about self-reflection and inspection. If you took the perspective of God, and gave an honest review of your life, would you say that you look like you should? When you feel God convicting you of that in your life, do you actually take steps to change, or do you walk away and ignore the conviction?

·         Wash your face

o   Effective listener (v 25)

§  When we take the word seriously, and make necessary changes in our lives to become more like Christ it is like we are taking that zit that popped up overnight, the one that everyone can see and is hideous and it is removed.

§  Seeing ourselves the way God does causes us to become humble. It reminds us of why we so desperately need Christ, and why we can’t save ourselves.  

§  The end of the verse states that those that do this will be blessed by God. Now if we tie this in with last week’s lesson about not being anxious, we see that the more we listen and apply the word of God, the more we become like Christ which means we will be able to rejoice instead of being angry and be content regardless of life’s circumstances.

§  We can pray with supplication and thanksgiving that God will conform us to the image of Christ

§  We can have that peace from God that surpasses all understanding.

§  We can also focus on the list that Paul gives us in Philippians: whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy and let them influence our thoughts and our lives. 

Comments