Quick To Listen, Slow To Speak

Podcast 39 Transcript

(This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.)

Hello and good day. I am B. R. Maul and you are listening to the podcast, Living God’s Way In An Ungodly World, where we discuss how, as Christians, we are to live in this fallen world that is saturated in sin, in wickedness, and we live among evil. Jesus never promised that his followers, his family, would be free of pain and suffering on this side of eternity. Just the opposite. Jesus made it clear that because the world hated him, they’ll also hate his followers, those who love him. So here is a good place where we learn God’s Word. We look at it. We read it. We discuss it. We chew on it. And that is our only guidance. Think about that for a moment, if you will, because the Bible is written by the very maker of the universe.

Do we really need to go anywhere else? Any other scholars? Any other fortune tellers? Any other gods? Small g. No, we do not, because born again believers. Follow the one true God, Yahweh. We are currently in the book of James. We’re getting close to the end of chapter 1. Today we’ll be going over verses 19 through 21.

There’s much to cover, so let’s get started. Chapter 1, verse 19. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath, for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Verse 21. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls. End of the reading. Let us pray. Heavenly Father, I ask you to guide my tongue as I teach from your word. Let not anything that is of myself, but only from the Holy Spirit leave my tongue. And I ask, Lord, for all who are listening, who hear this message, their hearts be softened and opened up to what you have to say to us all. Pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Going back to verse 19, James says, Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. Doesn’t it seem that the world itself is just the opposite? I know I struggle with that same habit that it took me years to develop. And that habit is just the opposite of what James is saying. Because myself, I was not swift to hear and slow to speak. No, just the opposite. I was, if anything, slow to hear and swift to speak. And even walking alongside the Lord now, it’s still a habit that I catch myself falling into and having to back out of. Of course, the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me, and I, I thank the Lord for the Holy Spirit to do just that.

How many arguments, or how many uncomfortable conversations, or even just situations, whether it’s at work or school, sitting around with family, could be avoided if we did what James said, and be swift to hear. That active listening, not that kind of hearing where a person is half listening because they’re preoccupied with their own thoughts that are dangling on their tongue. They can’t wait to spit out. No active listening, the kind that the person is looking at you and is patient, waiting for every word to come out and to be completed before they themselves say something. And of course, slow to speak goes along with that, really taking in what a person says and not being so quick to think about what we want to say can change our dynamics around us.

And with those two, the third one, slow to wrath, becomes much easier. Because when we… are so excited to say what we want to say to get what is on our tongue out. And that’s where we are concentrating. We can quickly get upset at the next person because they’re taking too long. They’re speaking too much and we want to put our hands up and yell and say, Listen to me! But for healthy relationships, and a less anxious lifestyle, James says let every man, every person, be swift to hear, slow to speak. Slow to wrath. And he explains why. Verse 20, For the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. The wrath of man, our anger as people, has no righteousness in it, because we are selfish. Right to the core, we are selfish beings, and the sin that is built in us has taught us to do whatever it takes to survive. And that includes being heard. Now there is a righteous anger. We saw that in Jesus when he took the whip and chased people out to the temple, the money changers. But even in that anger, he was 100 percent correct and he was 100 percent righteous.

Now with the Holy Spirit, born again believers, we are able to be angry. Because the key here is the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. In other words, the wrath that people have doesn’t stand up to the quality of being that God has for us. It falls short, falls way short. But for the born again believer, who is walking with the Lord, is attentive to the Holy Spirit.

Does not need to act on the wrath of oneself, but instead the wrath or anger of God through us, because the Holy Spirit will guide us in that anger. Being Christian does not mean that we don’t get angry. Movies and TV shows often mock what a Christian looks like. See a Christian character in a show or a movie and odds are they act weak, they act vulnerable, and they’re exceptionally kind all the time. But truth is, anger isn’t a sin. I tell my kids often, they don’t get in trouble for how they feel. If they’re getting in trouble, it’s because of how they reacted, how they chose to express those feelings because we all have the right to our emotions, but we don’t have the right to act on those emotions, however we choose when we do that, when we live in a society or a community or a family that acts that way and lives by such a code, there’s disaster because people are just Reacting on their emotion without keeping their emotion in check. Very uncomfortable way to live and can be very dangerous. Because the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. It does not live up to God’s standards. But when the Holy Spirit is guiding us… That does live up to God’s standards. A seasoned, born again believer should be able to recognize when the Holy Spirit is guiding one in such circumstances.

When we do get hurt, and our flesh, the initial reaction is to lash out. If someone takes advantage of us, mocks us, hurts somebody we love. Whatever it might be that is triggering the emotion of anger, but the Holy Spirit is constantly Communicating to us and when we are attentive and listening to God’s voice, then we’ll act Appropriately.

Think of somebody that you know in your life that just reacts when they’re angry Sometimes they’re referred to as having a short fuse Growing up, we used to make excuses for our behavior, such as, Oh, that’s just the German blood in them. Or, that’s just the Norwegian blood. Why is it, it seems like everyone has got anger in their blood? Oh, it’s just the Irish in them. It’s just, I mean, wow. It’s like, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me and my family growing up. I don’t know. But we would justify the actions of those around us, and we would justify our own actions. By just who we are. But truth be told, it doesn’t matter what your background is.

We use that as an excuse. That way we can get by talking or reacting on our emotions. But as Christians, we don’t have that privilege. Because we are to lay aside, well, lay aside. Isn’t the right terminology. We are to put to death our own self daily and we are to grow and walk with the Lord and as we read God’s word and pray to him and come together with other brothers and sisters in the faith, we are being sanctified.

It’s not an easy process. Sometimes just the opposite because something that we are so used to doing. And we realize is wrong. Snapping at somebody, reacting out of that anger, frustration, irritability, whatever it might be. At one time we just accepted it, well that’s just who I am. Or we blame it on them. You said this, or you did that. If you wouldn’t have done this, and we point our fingers. And that’s what the world does. We can compare the two in Proverbs, when I say the two I’m talking about the angry person and the person who has that self-control due to the help of the Holy Spirit. In Proverbs 29 verse 22 it reads An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.

Think of people that you know. Maybe you’re even really close to somebody. Maybe you are this angry person. Either way, think of the circumstances that surround this person, this lifestyle. Because an angry man, an angry person, stirs up strife. Everywhere they go. Just by flapping their mouth, they start stirring up strife. It’s the kind of person that has almost an ongoing anger with them. They quickly have the reputation of having a short fuse. Or somebody you don’t mess with, is sometimes what people will say. But what a horrible reputation, and what a terrible way to live! But such a person is a fool. Because they’re often the ones who do not even want to listen to a rebuke. And so every time they flap their mouth, their gums open, they’re stirring up strife. Whether they’re insulting, or they’re just quick to say what’s on their mind. And they’re rude about it. They don’t hold back their anger, not the kind of person that is celebrated. And even more so, a furious man, a furious person abounds in transgression.

Transgression in God’s word refers to more than sin because we can sin and not be aware of the fact that we’re sinning or we sin, and it’s a mistake. Or we resent that or regret our sin. Transgression is purposefully done. So it is doing something. It is sinning with intention behind it. And so a furious person, that person who, again, they just walk around, they have this anger that continuously is simmering and is quick to boil over. And this person abounds in transgression. They make decisions to harm other people, to insult other people, to attack somebody else. And think about that kind of person. We all know this sort of person, because they do it because they themselves don’t feel so good about who they are. So they will do whatever they can to belittle those around them.

And I grew up in an environment that often had that as an ongoing theme with certain family members where we could say we are just joking or just teasing one another, but often what it was is insulting. And we were doing everything possible to lift ourself up by making the other person look or seem pretty tiny.

And when you’re not walking with the Lord, sometimes that can be hard to identify, just how unhealthy that is. Proverbs 16:32, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin. He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty. And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. So, being slow to anger is better than the mighty.

Someone who, indeed, pushes others around with their weight. Or those who rule over other people with an iron fist. Cause someone who is slow to anger, they’re at peace with themselves, with who they are. And those kind of people attract other people because people appreciate being around those who don’t insult them, belittle them, or snap at them. So now think of somebody you know who is like that. Somebody who is patient, someone that kindness just folds off of them into everything they do, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. So someone who rules their spirit, and this is by the way lower s spirit, not capital S, so in other words, not the Holy Spirit.

We do not and cannot rule the Holy Spirit. Just the opposite. In order to rule one’s own spirit, we need to be subservient to the Holy Spirit. Because it is through the Holy Spirit, the power of God, that allows us to love other people. Because that is what a person who rules their own spirit And who is slow to anger.

That’s what they’re doing. And really we can only do that with the help of the Holy Spirit. I understand there are people who are not born again. Who do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. And they are polite. They are kind. And they may be patient. But I dare say that it would be and is a different kind. Because that would be self-serving. And without the Holy Spirit, not sustainable. Because again, without the Holy Spirit, if we are not born again, then we are doing everything to preserve our own lives, our own self. And that may mean being in a situation where one needs to be very kind, and cordial, and polite and not snap at other people. But if those circumstances change, a person who may be ordinarily calm can suddenly become ferocious. Verse 21. Therefore, lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word which is able to save your souls.

I read the new King James version. That’s my main Bible that I read from, but I do often like to compare other versions because sometimes that helps to understand a certain passage better. The NIV reads, therefore get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you which can save you.

Because he is talking to believers, and so the word that’s planted in us, that is the word of God, and the gospel message that has led us to being born again. The King James Version reads, Wherefore, lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness and receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able to save your soul.

Now, I really like the King James version of superfluity of naughtiness. And why is that? I’m glad you asked. Because, I think it really fits almost perfectly when it comes to the English translation. Because what James is telling us, when he says, Therefore, he’s referring to the fact that a person who is swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

And because the behavior of the wrath of man isn’t set to the standards of God, he’s saying because of that, lay aside all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness. That’s like a residual, an effect that has happened because of something that is excessive or overflowing. An example of that in God’s word when we read about when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. Uh, if you recall, when he called out for Lazarus, and Lazarus comes out of the tomb, that cave, if you recall, he was bound in his grave material, the grave cloth that they had wrapped him in because he had been dead for four days. That right there is a picture of the residual effect of living a life of and in this world.

So even though Lazarus was raised from the dead, it was a picture of being born again. Just a picture of it. But even though one is born again spiritually, we still have a residual effect. We have the superfluity of naughtiness of our past evil ways. An example that comes to mind would be in my own life. It was later in my life that I had turned back to the Lord. So if you listen to my very first podcast, that’s my story of being born again. And I believe that I was born again at a young age. But without any guidance, I still lived a very worldly life as a boy and a young man. So it wasn’t until later in life, looking at, oh, about 19 years ago now, that I had turned to God.

And it was at that moment that the Holy Spirit prompted me to read His Word and to stop seeking guidance from others, which I had been doing, in order to know God, to know my Heavenly Father, to know my Savior. So, with that conviction, I opened up God’s Word, and I haven’t stopped since. But as I was walking with him in those earlier years in my adult life, there were still things that I had a residual effect. I had my superfluity of naughtiness in, for example, the way I would speak. Growing up, it was a manly thing to swear and to cuss, and so I didn’t think twice about it. And when I was in the Air Force, all the more. I had to be even more of a man, so I better swear and cuss even more. I’m sure I look like a complete idiot.

But that’s what I thought. And so as the Holy Spirit convicted me, reading God’s Word, and was sanctifying me, changing things about me, And I started realizing, you know what, I feel bad when I swear. I feel bad when I say something witty that may knock somebody else down. And so with that conviction, in time, I was able to get rid of that superfluity of naughtiness, as it says in King James, or the overflowing of my own wickedness, as it says in the New King James. And so just like Lazarus, they had to take off all that old death garb that was still hanging on him. He had to shed that. And that’s what we need to do. James is saying, now that you’re walking with the Lord, now that you’re a Christian, you’re born again, you need to lay aside, set aside, get rid of that filthiness, and that wickedness, and receive.

With meekness, or some versions, receive humbly, accepting that implanted word. The word is already in you, beloved. As a born again believer, the word is in you. But you need to also receive that. And how do you do that? Well, when you are reading God’s word, and meditating on it, thinking about it, praying to the Lord about it, going back again and again. Because what the words are, that we read from God’s word, and it goes into our mind, it eventually sinks down into our hearts. Because life’s events will do that, whether they’re joyful or they’re sad. Anyone who is a parent, there’s that joy of having a child. And if that parent is a born again believer who’s reading God’s Word, things in God’s Word that may not have made sense before becomes alive in the arena of being a parent.

Or when we lose a loved one, we experience death of someone close to us. For a born again believer who is reading God’s Word, those verses that you memorize, or the verses that you have read over before, but for the third or fourth time or reading it, suddenly in your heart, something changes. And the Holy Word of God moves you, sanctifies you, and changes you forever from that moment forward.

How beautiful that is, that God has given us the gift of His Holy Word that we can every day of our life look into and just absorb it. On my own time, I’m reading the book of Revelation again, and recently I read the verse where John is told to take the little book the angel is holding, and to eat it. And the angel says that it will be sweet like honey, but bitter in your stomach. And so John eats that little book. And that little book is God’s Word. And that is something Christians are to do. We are to consume God’s Word, where it becomes a part of us. And as we speak it, as we read it, it’s sweet in our mouth.

It brings us that continuous hope when we’re feeling hopeless. It rejuvenates our soul when we are tired. And at the same time, the bitter part is knowing God’s Word and seeing the world around us making mistake after mistake. Perhaps loved ones that we pray will come to know the Lord Jesus as their personal Savior.

Not just Jesus that they hear about at church and they think is a nice guy, but they’re unwilling to give their life to him. Or when evil abounds around us. And we know from God’s Word. That if they don’t repent and change their ways, they’re hell bound. And there’s that bitterness in our stomach that just isn’t good.

But we receive, with meekness, that implanted word that is in us, that gospel message. That led us to being born again. That our spirit is now alive. Because the last part of that is, which is able to save your souls. And that’s God’s word. That is the gospel message, the blood of Christ. The only thing able to save our souls.

If you don’t know Jesus as your personal savior, now is a good time. If the Holy Spirit is tugging at you right now, if you can… Feel in your very being, the fiber of your body, you can hear and feel Christ knocking at the door of your heart. Let him in at this very moment. And you do so by Romans 10 verse 9, that if you confess with your mouth, the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart.

That God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Verse 10 says, For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, And with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. A prayer of admitting that you are indeed a sinner. And that you need the blood of Christ. You need his sacrifice, because you yourself cannot live out a perfect life.

You cannot live out the law that God the Father has laid out. You can’t do it. And when you understand that, and you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, So He’s not just your Savior, but your Lord, that your life is His. You’ll feel that in your heart, and the Holy Spirit will take place in you, and will seal you as a child of God.

A prayer may be quite simple. It could be, God, I don’t know that much about you, heard so much about you, but I have not given you my heart. I have not given you my life. I have been trying to rule my own life. I have been trying to control everything in my life. And I recognize that I am a sinner. I cannot keep your commands.

And so I cannot pay the price for my sins. And I look to Jesus as my Savior who died on the cross for me. Forgive me, Lord, I repent of being so sinful. And I look to you to show me what to do. And beloved, that is it. That’s it. It doesn’t take much. It’s all in the heart. And if it’s in your heart, you’ll be able to say it, confess it with your mouth, and mean it.

Well, that’s about enough for this time. Next, I will continue in the book of James chapter 1 and we’ll be on verse 22. And a reminder, I am indeed going to be interviewing brothers and sisters in Christ and recording their stories. So we get to know some more of our brothers and sisters in the faith. And my prayer with that is that if you’re born again already, It will encourage you to hear other people’s messages of faith, how they came to know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

And I’m also hoping that it will help those who are seeking Jesus. who know so much about him, but they don’t know him as their own personal Savior. And hearing God’s Word is definitely part of coming to knowing Jesus Christ as one’s Savior. But when we can hear other people’s testimonies, it often will strike a chord in our hearts because we can relate with some of those stories.

Some we might not be able to relate to at all, but it can still be encouraging. And others, so many of the time we can think, Oh, I get it. I know where they’re coming from. Yes, I was there too. And it’s so encouraging to either step into the faith and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior or to continue down that path of righteousness.

So until next time, continue to read God’s Word, continue to pray, meet with brothers and sisters in the faith. And may our Heavenly Father bless you.

Until next time,

God bless.