BRP Insight Post for Monday, June 3, 2019
Saturday’s reading takes a detour from the book of Acts and lands us in the book of James. Since we are reading chronologically through the events of the New Testament, we will have some weaving in and out of Acts for the next few weeks.
The book of James is among my favorite books of the Bible. Written by Jesus’ brother, James, who was one of the leaders of the early church in Jerusalem, this five-chapter book is full of practical wisdom in how to live the Christian life. James’ target audience was new Jewish Christians who were living in non-Jewish communities outside Palestine.
There’s so much in this first chapter that convicts and challenges me but James’ words about anger and our words are at the top of the list.
19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
When in a tense or heated situation, I struggle with being slow to speak. I rarely struggle for words, but when I’m angry, my ability to articulate is off the charts. I want to rewrite that verse to justify not taking the time to listen but then I get to verse 26:
26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
Wow. Directness must have been a family trait, because James sounds an awful lot like Jesus right there.
We can claim to be many things, but our words and actions will always reveal the truth about who we are on the inside. Jesus said in Luke 6: 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
When the inside and the outside don’t match, our “religion” is worthless, and we become just another hypocritical Christian. Jesus is calling us to more than that.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach