Beyond the Gospels: James

Today’s verse: James 1:19-27
[Consider opening your Bible today, you may want to highlight a word or two. Otherwise, click the reference above to read on BibleGateway.com.]

Listen.
Walk.
Keep quiet.
Care.

Listen. Be quick to listen to others. Listen. Don’t form your response while they’re still speaking. Listen. Listen for truth. Listen for discernment from the Holy Spirit, the Word planted in you. When anger stirs our hearts it’s almost always self-righteous and not righteous. Listen. Be slow to spout off.

Walk. By all means hear the Word of God, but don’t just listen. Walk in the Word. Let it examine your heart and life. Let it do its work in your heart. Walk. To merely listen and not do is self-deceiving. We may think it a great lesson, but if we don’t allow it to transform our lives, we lie to ourselves. The blessing comes with listening and doing. Walk.

Keep quiet. The world says: Stick and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Talk about a lie. The Word says: The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing (Proverbs 12:18 NIV). Words have power. If we say we are followers of Jesus, yet speak unfiltered words in anger, in pride, in arrogance, we are deceiving ourselves. Those who follow Him guard their words. Err on the side of keeping quiet.

Care. Care for those in need. Pure, faultless religion, according to God, is to look after orphans and widows. Care for children with absentee parents. Care for widows who sit alone in nursing homes. Not just through organizations and donations, but through personal interaction. Put a face to orphans. Put a name to the widow. Get involved. Care.

Care what you let into your life. Don’t be polluted by the ways of the world. The only way to know His Way is through His Word and prayer. Which takes us back to the beginning. Listen. Be discerning. Care. What comes into your life. And what you do with it.

Lord Jesus, forgive me for every word I didn’t really hear,
for not guarding my words, or caring for those in need.
Open my heart to listen, walk, keep quiet, and care.
I want to live in Your blessing and not in self-deception.
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