Focusing on the “Why?”

Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. 

James 1:19 (The Message)


Beloved of God,

The book of James has been the focus of some personal study as I attempt to decipher the plan of God in these increasingly chaotic times. In the verse leading to verse 19, James is focusing on the why of our trials and difficulties. He concludes that God allows us to experience trials, because God is proving our faith. God is removing the defects and flaws, so that we do not lack anything.

So, we can’t get angry about what is happening to us or about what others are saying to, around, or in spite of us. Whatever they are saying is much more spiritual than they understand.

Out of trust in God and His ability to ordain our steps, we should listen to Him and let His Word shape our response, so that our response can reflect our faith. God is doing more to shape and perfect us through difficult exchanges with others than we realize.

The why is because God wants to prove our faith, but to prove our faith, we need to be a good steward of our response. If we don’t want to experience the same trials over and over again, James makes it clear that we should let our ears lead us, our mouth follow, and let anger straggle along (James 1:19 MSG). That way, when we are faced with someone who is using reckless words, we can learn to see this as both God’s work in our life and as a maturing of our faith.

We often let anger take us to a place that we regret once our anger has subsided. But James reminds us that Jesus wants us to respond differently. We follow Christ, and He helps us to control our emotions. By the Grace of God and the work of the Spirit, we can be transformed so that we can bring our emotions in check and line up our emotions with God’s Word and will.

If the Holy Spirit leads and emotions follow, we can make decisions that will expand the Kingdom of God.

In Him,
Pastor Nathaniel Wright