Slow to Hear, Quick to Speak, & Quick to Wrath

Slow to Hear, Quick to Speak, & Quick to Wrath

This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. – James 1:19

It is amazing how many people get this verse so wrong. Stephen, often regarded as the first Christian to die for his faith concluded his sermon about the hardness of hearts of the Jews. Just before they stoned him, the Bible says they “cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and ran at him with one accord” (Acts 7:57). The failure to heed the message Stephen spoke by inspiration is ironic because his message was about the Jews history of failing to heed the message. They were “slow to hear, quick to speak and quick to wrath.” What James 1:19 compels us to do, in the context of James writing this book, is to heed the message called the “word of truth” (v. 18). The message is called “the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (v. 21). The message is called “a mirror” (v. 23). The message is called, “the perfect law of liberty” (v. 25). It is the message of God’s word. Here are a few prayers to help prove ourselves, “swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath” about the word of God:

  • I humbly look with an attitude that says, “God, I am not perfect and I need You to make me more like Lord Jesus” (Isaiah 64:8).
  • I look at His word and say, “Speak, Lord, your servant hears” (1 Sam. 3:10).
  • When anger or resentment swells up within me about the word of God or one of His servants who speaks it to us, I need to pray, “God, help me to not focus my anger towards Your Word or towards Your servant who speaks it, but towards the sin that the Word has convicted in me. Break my heart and help that anger be changed into repentance” (2 Samuel 11-12; Psalm 32).
  • When I find myself not wanting to hear the Word of God that convicts me, “God, help me to have a heart that is open to and honest with the truth” (James 4:9-10).
  • When I find myself in turmoil because I desire the Word of God to be different than what is written, “God, I accept Your Word and know that it is designed to give me an abundant life. Give me the strength, the courage, and the submissiveness it takes to be a doer of the Word” (Joshua 1:9)
  • Whatever the Word may say, “God help me always to be a doer of the Word and not a hearer only” (James 1:22).


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