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High Performance Continues
Posted by Rev. Jeff Dixon, Senior Equipping Minister at Covenant Community Church on Nov 18, 2002, 16:48

Welcome to a brand new week on the Adventure Link as we continue our study on High Performance. Last week we talked about taking responsibility and learning under pressure. This week we surge forward in the passage and tackle a few more verses. In them we discover some things that set you apart in your journey of faith. Lets see what James has to say as we begin….

James 1:19-27 (NIV) 
    My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, [20] for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. [21] 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.
    [22] Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. [23] Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror [24] and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. [25] But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
    [26] If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. [27] Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

James now begins to teach a few lessons about what you say and having wisdom. These are lessons that are timeless. James says here that wisdom is something that God gives us, and a wise person is slow to speak. In verse 19, the end of the verse, we see a lesson that we need to learn to listen and then be slow to speak. There is such a practical application in these verses. One of the basic problems people have in any relationship is communication. Bad communication impacts people in the work place, the home, in social settings, and even in churches. The reason is because everyone wants to talk and be heard, but rarely does anyone want to listen. For many people, they are thinking about what they want to say next when someone else is trying to talk to them, and then they wonder why communication doesn’t happen…

Learning to listen is a great skill, and does make a difference to others in your life.

The James goes on and says the slow stuff…

Be slow to speak….(we just thought about that for a few moments) and Be Slow to Anger….James does not forbid anger, so he is not saying, “never be angry”. Repressed anger will eventually come out and when it does it is destructive. There are moments that anger is the best response to some situations. However, James is clearly saying that anger is not the emotion and response of choice at every opportunity. Wisdom must be your guide at this point.

So lets take a quick check up…are you slow to speak and slow to anger. Or, do the people around you think just the opposite about you?

God has in store for each of us a life that is full of blessing where we notice His presence with us each day. When we begin living life that way, we find ourselves much more aware of listening, we find we are much slower to speak, and we also discover that we are slower to anger. All of that happens as we choose to become wiser.

Perhaps that is a good reminder for all of us as we start the week. Ask God to make you slow to anger, quick to listen, and slow to speak. Then try it…watch and see if the people around you act any differently. You might be surprised…

Have a great day, the adventure continues….

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