So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. (James 1:19)
Today’s big question: how can I put others before myself?
We have been going through statements in Scripture that are often not associated with the word “authority.” So far we have found that living under the authority of God means we are called to be holy, merciful, and gentle. We are also to love and esteem the local church.
Today our focus is on a similar statement. We are doing this series because so often we see people ready to “die on the hill” of the authority of Scripture. When God’s Word is attacked by atheists, or by compromised teachings in the church, we passionately stand and defend the authority of the Bible.
This series is asking one question: are we willing to display our commitment to the authority of Scripture just as passionately in every area? Is it possible that even in the defense of the authority of the Bible we can deny the authority of Scripture in the way we defend it by not being gentle or merciful in our approach? Since “all Scripture” is inspired by God, then all of it is authoritative.
So when the Bible tells us simple truths, such as listening before speaking or being slow to wrath and quick to understand, are we paying attention to the extent of authority with which these messages are being delivered? James is a great book for this because we repeatedly see that we cannot just be hearers of the Word but must also be doers of the Word. If we want to defend the content of Scripture and call it authoritative, then we must be willing to live it out as well (James 1:22).
Every passage in the Bible is important, not just for knowledge but for life and living. The degree to which we take the authority of Scripture is not our decision. It is true that some passages are more applicable today, but all of Scripture holds the same authority.
Now keep all of this in mind as you read today’s verse. Be a person who listens carefully to others before you speak your own mind. Be slow to anger. It might seem easy but it is not. It takes practice and devotion to being a disciple of Jesus Christ, our greatest example.
If every Christian had a consistent approach to biblical authority, we would understand and love each other with much greater unity in God’s truth. Why not practice this one today? Listen and understand before speaking and reacting. This directive comes with God’s authority.
Today’s big idea: put others ahead of yourself. The Bible says so. Period.
What to pray: ask God to help you submit to His authority in all things.
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