I talk a lot. Always have; perhaps I always will. It has certainly been something I had to be mindful of because speaking can get you in trouble. The Bible speaks a lot about the words we speak and even the action of speaking. We are to be quick to listen and we are to be slow to speak.
If we are slow to speak, it allows us to think before we put our foot in our mouth. It also can keep us from sinning. It could prevent you from saying something hurtful or destructive to someone you care about when you are angry or frustrated. Something that is said cannot be unsaid. It’s important that we have the ability to bite our tongue, even if we are right. If we speak without thinking, we will leave behind us a path of destruction.
This verse also speaks about being quick to listen. Listening is often an issue for us. We want to talk. We want to share everything. I think we may like the sound of our own voices. It’s a me world. Listening is harder. It means you are allowing others to control the flow of the conversation. It means you are focused and taking in what the other is saying. Hopefully it means you are truly paying attention to the person. As you listen, you get to know more. As you listen, you basically are acknowledging that the speaker matters. Today, aim to be slower to speak and quicker to listen. Control your tongue.
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” James 1:19 [NLT]
25) Don’t lie
26) Don’t act in anger – James 1:20 – Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. [NLT] Anger motivated by pride. Anger that lingers.
27) Give no opportunity to devil
28) If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. [NLT]
29) Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift. [MSG]
30) Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. [MSG]
- Bitterness, harshness, embittered resentful spirit
- Wrath, passion, rage, bad temper
- Anger, resentment, animosity
- Quarreling, brawling, clamor, contention, shout
- Slander, evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language
- Malice, spite, ill will, evil behavior, wickedness, vicious disposition
Proverbs 29:11 – A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. [NASB]
Proverbs 29:22 – An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. [NIV]
Proverbs 30:33 – For the churning of milk produces butter, And pressing the nose brings forth blood; So the churning of anger produces strife. [NASB]
1 Timothy 2:8 – Therefore, I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument. [HCSB]
Holy Spirit – common to each believer – Spirit of God ties each of us together
Acting in a negative matter breaks the binding of the Body. It is the opposite of unity. Anger can divide a church (2 Corinthians 12:20)
Never let anything bring division to His Body. Speak life. Look out for the best interests of others…
Bible Study Questions:
Ephesians 4 focuses on the unity of the body of Christ, the Church, and living as children of Light. What are some of the items Paul tells us to refrain from to promote unity and righteous living?
Ephesians 4:27 says not to give the devil an “opportunity” or “foothold” or “place.” What does this mean? Why is this so important?
The passage says, “Be angry” but in some verses we read that a fool loses his temper, commits many sins, and stirs up conflict. Where do we draw the line? How can anger be okay?
What Fruit of the Spirt do you think is important to live out these words Paul has written in this passage? (read Galatians 5:22-26)
Why does Paul spend so much time talking about unity?
What have you seen be most divisive in the Body?
What can you do to promote unity?
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Ephesians. The 12 weeks include:
We all have moments when we are not at our best—moments we would like to erase from our memory. The other day I had one of those moments. I could make excuses and say I was run down, tired, in pain and all of them are true; however, there was a way around the mess that arose. Sadly we so often make that mental note after the fact.
The problems that arose involved three big factors—two that I already mentioned. Firstly, I was in pain. Secondly, I was tired. Pain and exhaustion cause us to react differently than we usually act. You are more sensitive, less patient, more irritable. Thirdly, I had things bottled up. A few weeks prior, things had occurred that I did not get to yet discuss so they were still sitting there in the pot. Oh what a pot that boiled over that evening.
Yes, we all have the moments. Thankfully I have a lot less of them. Today, remember to address things right away. Don’t bottle things up so they can boil over later. Be sure to get the rest your body needs. If you are in pain or distress, address that as well. Don’t leave any room for the devil to stir up a boiling pot so it boils over.
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” – Psalm 127:2 [NLT]
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” – Ephesians 4:31-32 [NLT]
Every time I reach my hands into the kitchen drawer with the cooking utensils, it seems like I am pulling out the wrong item. I want the metal tongs but pull out a metal spoon because I focus only on grabbing something metal. I want a heavy duty plastic spoon but instead retrieve the heavy duty plastic spatula. Often we quickly reach for the item, see something that closely resembles what we want, and we make the grab not realizing until it is too late that our eyes have played tricks on us.
This happens in life all of the time, but sometimes it occurs in areas that are more detrimental than simply selecting cooking utensils while preparing a meal. We see something that isn’t the Truth, but it appears to sound like the truth so we support it. Sometimes we find ourselves out in the world of social media and there’s a photo shared with some description. Everything looks to be true. We start commenting on the injustice we see in the photo or we share the photo with others, helping to assist in the lie, not realizing that it is in fact a lie. Some photos are photo shopped or taken out of context, but we have already shared them with our co-workers, family and friends. They have shared the same photos and stories because they trust you. Later it is found that the photos were doctored, the story isn’t even true, and the Truth itself is in question. You went from trying to be a compassionate person showing the injustice or bad situation, only to finding yourself in a bad situation. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that there is both life and death in our words.
God calls us to be watchful of our steps and of our words. We are to be careful with the words we speak so that we do not tread on the ground of slandering others. Instead we are to be encouraging, speaking love, and being a light for the Truth. It is so easy to get caught up in sharing something as simple as a photo. It doesn’t seem so dangerous, but still there are dangers. If we expect people to believe the Truth when we present it, we want to guarantee that we are not sharing lies with others—we want to protect our moral authority.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29 [ESV]
“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1 [ESV]