Last night I opened my study book and read:
"My dearly loved brothers, understand this: Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger." (James 1:19)
I paused at that first sentence. Wow, I thought. There is so much in that one verse. I think I could literally work a lifetime just at trying to work that into my heart and put it into practice. Be quick to hear. Be slow to speak. Be slow to anger. Yes, never mind the thousands of other verses, commands, directions. How on earth can I get to everything else when each verse contains so much?
I read on, convicted about how I tend to wait for a break in the conversation just to jump in with my pre-prepared thoughts. I thought about how easily I lose patience with a three-year-old. I thought how I so badly want to prove my point or get my point across that I don't really listen to what the other person is saying.
I came to the end of the lesson, and because I was a little behind, went right into the next one. And those two lessons were meant to come back to back for me. That second lesson tied up with a bow my first reaction to that first verse. I could try and craft my own version of what was happening in my mind and heart, but instead I'll just record some of the sentences by Beth Moore that pierced me right to the core:
"Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." (James 1:25)
"What James will teach us is the difference between talking about living in victory over things like self-centeredness, addiction, seduction, and temptation and actually doing it."
"Do you actually do what the Scriptures say?...The doing causes the changing. Not the hearing."
"We can underline our Bibles till our pens run dry without a drop of ink splattering our lives. The self-deception slithers in when we mistake appreciation for application or being touched with being CHANGED."
"The hearing itself can be satisfying...The Word of God, however, is meant to do more than penetrate. It's meant to activate....Simply put, the Word was meant to work. And, through it, we were meant to bear fruit."
"Do you see the concept? It's not until the hearing turns into doing that believing leads to blessing. Out "doing" may not always show up in physical activity. The initial act of obedience might be waiting upon the Lord or setting our minds zealously upon His faithfulness."
"Prioritize the moral code over the ritual code."
"He is not interested in behaviour alone. He is interested in motive."