Where To Start
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.”
I talk to students all the time that tell me that they want to get closer to God or take their faith more seriously. But the thing that many of them say, across the board, is that they don’t know where to start. When I was a kid, I was guilty of the same thing. I just didn’t know where to start. Even when I finally did start reading scripture it just seemed too hard. There was just too much work to do. And when you have all that work to do, where do you even begin?
Enter James. James is one of the most practical books of the Bible. This passage gives us each a place to start working on reflecting the image of God more and more. Where do you start?
- When you want to talk, try to listen. Even if it’s really frustrating and you feel like you are right…listen instead of proving it.
- Then, when you do have the right opportunity to speak, carefully and slowly choose your words. Your words can inflict a lot of damage, or a lot of encouragement. Choose wisely.
- When the conversation moves from being frustrating to making you angry….remember that a life filled with anger is not the life that God desires for us. Be very slow to anger.
So what does that last sentence in the passage mean? It means get into God’s scripture. Like you are doing right now. And let the words that God speaks plant themselves in your heart so that when you might normally talk over others, get angry and say damaging words….instead you can listen, say positive things in the face of frustration and be slow to anger. And this is what it means to be different from the world around you.
So my challenge is to start this now. It may feel like there is a lot of work to be done, but you can do it. You have to start somewhere. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” Take it today.
by Nick Ressler
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