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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Learning How to Get Better Reception

In review of James 1:19-21 it says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 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.”

Bottom Line:
Listen more, speak less and avoid anger. Anger gets you nowhere. Move forward in life by getting rid of moral filth and evil that comes so easy. In humility, accept God’s word, it has the power to transform you.

What this means to me:
I need to listen more than I speak. I should avoid anger. Anger will not allow me to do anything that God wants from me. Therefore, I need to eliminate any moral filth and evil that comes so naturally. In humility, I am to accept and follow His word. It has the power to direct and save me.

Given the example of a gardener, one can take the exact same seed and plant it in three different locations and get three different results. In one spot, you’ll get giant tomatoes. In another, you’ll get small tomatoes. And in a third, you’ll get nothing. What’s the difference? It’s not the seed; it’s the soil. The soil must be prepared for the seed.

The same is true when I hear God’s Word. My heart has to be prepared for the Word. If I’m late, have trouble finding a parking spot, and are irritated as I rush into church, I’m probably not going to hear God’s voice! I’m not in a receptive mood.

That’s why you can take two people to church, set them side-by-side, and one will walk out thinking God really spoke to him and the other won’t get anything out of the service. The heart of one person was prepared; the other’s heart wasn't.

This verse reminds me that, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 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” (James 1:19b-21 NIV).

For good reception, this passage teaches that you have to have four attitudes:

You must be quiet. You can’t hear God if you’re talking.
You have to be calm. You can’t rush God. If you’re frantic, you’re not going to hear him. The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” My translation of that is: “Sit down, and shut up.”
You have to be clean. Before you can meet with God, you need to take out your emotional and spiritual garbage. You need to get rid of the stuff that stinks in your life. You get rid of the garbage by confessing your sin to God and agreeing with him that what you did was wrong.
You need to be humble. Be ready to do whatever God tells you from his Word. A prideful attitude won’t work.

When it comes to my quiet times, I need to keep my mind clear and turn my focus to him. I should not be thinking of my todo list.  I need to confess any wrong doings so that I can be clear in my relationship with God.  I can always pray for assistance in accomplishing my todo’s or for help overcoming any recurring sins.

This verse, also helps me in my daily interaction with others. Being quieter and listening more are skills that I need to develop. Often, I’m not listening completely because I’m formulating what I’m going to say, or making up my mind about whatever it is. I need to slow down and not rush. It’s important to hear everything, otherwise I’m imposing my own thoughts / desires. In order to listen more / speak less, I’ll need to tell myself to wait at least 5-10 seconds before responding. I’ll also need to eliminate distractions, such as focusing on my cell phone or my computer.  I should turn and look at the one speaking to me.

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