My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life 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 1:19-21 (NIV)
Like A Luxurious Garden
What are you quick to listen to? What and who has your attention? I’m not exactly sure what you mean. What thoughts occupy your mind? Who is speaking into your life? I would like to think that your thoughts occupy my thinking and that you are speaking into my life. Now you are beginning to understand my questions.
I want you to be quick to listen. You might ask “To what, do you want me to listen?” You already know the answer. Yes, I do. You want me to be quick to listen to you and your word. Yes, I do. How will I best be able to do that? Now, that is a very good question. You are like a garden. I want my word to be planted in you so that it will flourish and grow. You will never be able to live the righteous life I desire for you unless you are listening to my word. As you listen I will plant my word in you. You are right to ask how will you be able to be quick to listen to my word.
I will gladly answer that question for you. To listen you must listen. That sounds obvious doesn’t it? Yes, it does. You cant be speaking and listening attentively at the same time. I get it. Do you really? The more you speak the less you will be able to hear and listen to me. The one who speaks thinks he knows. The listener listens because he does not know. I want you to have the attitude of a humble listener. I want you to be hungry and eager to hear from me. I’m here to listen. Yes, you are and that is very good.
There are two things that will also hinder your ability to hear from me. They will try to prevent you from living the righteous life I have given you to live for me. What are they? The first one is anger. How well can you hear from me if you are angry about something? When I’m angry I can’t hear from you at all. Yes, that’s right. Will you set aside all your anger so that you can listen to me? Yes Lord, I will.
What is the second thing that will prevent me from hearing from you and living the righteous life you want me to live? This one is the direct opposite of the life I want you to live. I want you to get rid of anything that is morally filthy and evil. Take a close look. Do an inventory with me. Ask me to show you if there is anything in your life that displeases me. I will show you what must go. Together we will uproot what I don’t want planted in your life. Then in the new space available I will plant my word into your life so that my word will continue to grow and flourish in you. That’s what I want Lord. Yes, I know. I will make your life like a luxurious garden and you will flourish for me.
Lord, help me to remove anger, moral filth, and evil from my life so that I will be able to attentively listen to you. Plant your word in me and cause it to flourish and grow so that I will be like a luxurious garden bearing fruit for you. Amen
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