Thursday, June 11, 2020

Listen

Hey Anthem Family!

We mentioned last week that we were going to do a series through lament, repent, listen and pursue godly living out of our message from 5/31. Ahmad and Ashlee have written up a devo on listening. This is a HUGE opportunity for us as a church to grow as listeners both with our friends and with the culture around us. With that, here you go!

Hey Anthem, Ahmad and Ashlee Milby here. We miss you all and hope that you are doing well. It’s crazy that it’s almost been 3 months since we’ve gathered in person. We are so excited to see restrictions being lifted and that we are able to gather again with many of you this Sunday. 

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. -James 1:19-20

Quick to Listen

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. -Proverbs 18:2

In our culture, one way that we can distinguish ourselves as Christians is by our ability and willingness to listen to others. If you are on social media at all or out in the community it feels like there are so many voices speaking right now, and many of these voices are talking right past each other. Taking the time to listen to others is not only wise, but it’s also loving. It takes genuine care to invest into a person by listening to them and truly getting to know them and their perspective. Our goal of reaching people for the gospel begins with listening to them to understand how the gospel is good news for their hearts.

Slow to Speak

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. -James 1:26

The bible has so much to say about the way that we talk to others. Later on in chapter 3 of James, he will unpack more of this idea of taming the tongue to minimize all the damage that it can do. James’ point in this is to say that our ability to control our impulse to lash out with our tongue, speaks directly to the quality of our relationship with God.

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. -Colossians 4:6

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. -Ephesian 4:29

When used correctly, our words have so much potential for good in the lives of those around us. They can give wisdom to the people who question us, and they can speak much needed grace over the people we are in relationship with.

Exercise 1: Think about 3 people who you will interact with today. Where do they need grace, what could you say to them that would build them up in Christ? Choose to say something to them today that will build up and bless them.

Slow to Anger 

We want to be people who are led by God’s spirit and not by our emotions. We may fool ourselves sometimes by thinking that getting mad and lashing out with our words (spoken or digital) will make people understand that they are wrong and have a change of heart, but James assures us that our anger “does not produce the righteousness of God.” -James 1:20

Exercise 2: Reflect on a time recently where you were not quick to listen and slow to speak. What happened because of it? How would have being quick to list, slow to speak and slow to anger changed the outcome of the situation?

Prayer: Father, I confess that I am times that I am slow to listen, quick to speak, and quick to get angry. Forgive me, and please give me the wisdom to listen to others, and the strength of character to control what I say. Teach me to use my words to build up others and to give them your grace. Amen.