Transformed by Truth: The Power of Listening and Self‑Control

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 18 April 2024
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Rev. Dr. Dean Courtier
dean.courtier@estuaryelim.co.uk

Transformed by Truth: The Power of Listening and Self-Control

Today, our journey into Scripture brings us to the profound wisdom found in James 1:19-20. "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. This passage holds within it a treasure trove of principles that can reshape our lives and relationships if we are willing to heed its counsel. Let's unpack these truths together.

Quick to Listen
James begins by urging us to be quick to listen. Listening goes beyond the mere act of hearing; it embodies attentiveness and empathy towards others. Proverbs 18:13 (NLT) warns "Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish." True listening fosters understanding and cultivates meaningful connections with those around us.

As followers of Christ, we are called to exercise discernment and wisdom in our interactions. Seeking advice and instruction, as Proverbs 19:20 (NLT) encourages, "Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life" - there is a pathway to acquiring true wisdom and understanding.

Slow to Speak
James also exhorts us to be slow to speak. Our words carry immense power - either to build up or tear down. Proverbs 15:1 (NLT) reminds us "A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare." Practising self-control in our speech reflects a heart attuned to God's righteousness.

Wisdom is demonstrated not only in what we say but also in knowing when to remain silent, as Proverbs 17:27-28 (NLT) illustrates, "A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent." Our goal should be to speak thoughtfully and purposefully, reflecting the character of Christ in our words.

Slow to Anger
Lastly, James warns against the destructive nature of human anger. Being slow to anger requires inner strength and spiritual maturity. Proverbs 14:29 (NLT) teaches, "People with understanding control their anger; a hot temper shows great foolishness." As believers, we are called to exercise self-control and seek reconciliation instead of allowing anger to dictate our actions.

Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT) cautions "And ‘don't sin by letting anger control you.' Don't let the sun godown while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil." Instead, let us cultivate patience and self-control, relying on God's strength in every circumstance.

How do we apply these transformative truths to our lives?
Let us embrace the virtues of listening, self-control, and patience as outlined in James 1:19-20. By doing so, we reflect the love and righteousness of our Heavenly Father to a world in need of His grace.

Let us commit to being quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger in our interactions with others. May our words and actions be a testimony to the transformative power of God's truth.

May these insights from Scripture inspire and challenge us to live transformed lives by the power of God's truth. As we apply these principles, may we bring glory to His name and bear witness to His transforming grace.

Thank you for joining me on this journey of exploration and discovery. May God bless you abundantly as you seek to be transformed by His truth.