Welcome to DAY 6 of our online Bible study on James!
— Read: James 1:19-25 —
It started with a phone call from my teenage son. He was at home with the two youngest and feeling frustrated by the attitude and actions of our youngest boy. Enough so that he needed me to intervene.
I was irritated at being interrupted but I understood why my son needed to call. I should have paused, even for a moment, to pray before I got on the phone with my youngest son. Instead, I led with anger. Words spewed out before I could reel them back in. Classifying his behavior with those words I shouldn’t use — always and never. He knew I was angry and his tender spirit was crushed. I hung up the phone and immediately felt regret.
“He is going to grow up believing he isn’t wanted, that he can’t do anything right” . . . was a whisper that sounded like a scream in my mind.
But then the truth followed . . . “But he was desperately wanted and prayed for. He was a fighter from the very start — a miracle boy that has always been a gift.”
When we found out we were pregnant, despite all the odds against us, I knew he was my fighter boy. It was something I celebrated then but found myself cursing recently.
I had forgotten the gift.
I had let my angry spirit suffocate the miracle. It isn’t often that I can say I felt clearly convicted by the Holy Spirit but this was one of those times.
I love that the Holy Spirit convicts us when we are willing to listen. I knew that something needed to change, but I also recognized that this angry spirit of mine was something I couldn’t “fix” on my own.
In studying the book of James I always linger at James 1:19-25.
Probably because it speaks to the area of my deepest sin and struggle. I love the Message version for verses 19-21:
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. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger. So throw all spoiled virtue and cancerous evil in the garbage. In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the Word, making a salvation-garden of your life.
Let anger straggle along in the rear. Let God landscape you with the Word.
Oh, those words are meant just for me. Maybe you have found yourself there too? Convicted by God’s Word and desperate for change? But I can’t just hear the words and not act on them.
James 1: 22-25 goes on to say this:
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are a listener when you are anything but, letting the Word go in one ear and out the other. Act on what you hear! Those who hear and don’t act are like those who glance in the mirror, walk away, and two minutes later have no idea who they are, what they look like. But whoever catches a glimpse of the revealed counsel of God—the free life!—even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight and affirmation in the action.
I have acknowledged my anger in the past but I hadn’t taken any action steps. I want my son to know he is loved and cherished. I want to parent well even in the face of disrespect and difficulties.
I want to be an example of leading with God’s Word daily.
I called a dear friend and shared my struggle. She too faced a similar situation and we committed ourselves to fervent prayer for our boys. We set alarms on our phones to remind us and pledged to pray Psalm 139 over our sons every day until Easter.
We prayed for a renewed spirit for our boys and for ourselves as well.
I am incapable of doing this life well on my own. I am so very grateful to all of the ways God has redeemed and restored my life. I believe that if I seek Him daily and trust Him with my life and my son’s life that He will move in ways I can’t even hope or imagine.
Friends, an angry spirit isn’t honoring to God, we all know that. But don’t be discouraged! By spending time in His Word, being faithful in prayer, and willing to let go of those things we want to control, God can transform our greatest sins into a story of hope and encouragement for others. I am holding on to that for myself and my son today. Walking forward in action and finding delight in Him.
— Diving Deeper —
In what ways have you practiced James’ admonition
to be quick to listen and slow to become angry?
Share in the comments!