Oct 28, 2018 – A Pattern For Change
Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series – James: Distilling Faith
James 1:19-27 (ESV)
19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
Slowing down (v19) and letting God work through His word (vv21-23) is the only way for good life changes to be deep and thorough.
- v21 “receive with meekness the implanted word”
- v25 “the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty”
- vv23-24 “ For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror… and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.”
- v19 “be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger”
- v25 “the one who looks… will be blessed in his doing”
Questions for Reflection
- Which is easier for you: hearing or doing?
- Do you take time with some regularity to slow down, reflect, and think? What is your prayer life like (how do you pray)? Do you prayerfully reflect when you read the Bible, and consider the meaning of a particular passage, as well as your life and how to align yourself with what you have learned?
- What challenges are there to sustaining the pattern of receiving, reflecting and responding? What about your life makes this hard (or simply something you won’t really do)?
- How often are you intentionally restraining what you would like to say? How often do you say things you recognize (even if later) you should not have said?
- Do you find meekness a desirable quality? What concerns do you have about trying to grow in meekness? What does true meekness look like? How can a meek person be assertive?
- What are some of the things in your life that you are responding to (in your choices and actions)? What would it look like respond to God’s grace in your interactions with people or situations? How do you treat people out of how God in Christ has treated you, and not entirely by how they are treating you? What principles can guide you so that you are shaped by God in your actions, but also wisely engage others (particularly if they are not being honorable towards you)?
Prayer of Confession
Oh Lord, you are slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. We are quick to speak, quick to anger, but slow to listen. We are not, on our own, producing righteousness in our lives. Instead, we live thoughtlessly, listening to various influences that lead us into sin. We neglect the word you have given us. We foolishly fail to prioritize thoughtful consideration of our lives in light of your word. Our own words are evidence that we are not fully under the influence of your word. Bear patiently with us as we are learning to slow down and listen to you. Help us to see your mercy, and to reshape our lives around the grace you have shown us in Jesus Christ. Amen.