Wednesday in the Second Week of Ordinary Time

James 1:19-21

Receive with Meekness

James is the letter that speaks much to the practice of the Christian faith.  This is not to say that other letters don’t.  Paul’s letters speak much of theology but never leave out practical application, nor do the other general epistles.  Still, it is James who reminds us that faith without works is dead. 

Well, it is at this place that James begins to step on our toes and will not let up until the very end.  But there is so much here to hear as wisdom pours forth from his pen.  “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, [and] slow to anger.”  Oh, how much trouble do our tongues get us into!  How many relationships have been destroyed?  How many marriages ended simply because we could not control our tongues.  James will speak even more specifically to the mischief our tongues can cause (3:1-12), for now he only reminds us to be “slow” to speak while being “quick” to hear—to listen intently while pondering our response—to understand the other before returning a meaningful answer.  And then James tells us something that we should all commit to memory: “The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”  Yes, Jesus got angry and cleansed the temple.  And, yes, there is something called “righteous anger” Christians and even pagans will feel over gross injustices.  But God does not call me to unleash my rage on offenders: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay,” says the Lord (10:30).  I must learn to put my anger to constructive and holy uses through prayer and standing with the oppressed—like the unborn, those who suffer from sex trafficking, persecuted Christians, and like injustices.  But I cannot stoop to the same methods of those who commit the injustice, lest I become like them; in other words, we must ever play by God’s rules.

So, James decides to pull all the stops here at the beginning of his letter: “Put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness.”  The Apostle Peter agrees, “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” (1 Peter 4:3).  It is past time for Christians to answer the call to holy living, certainly as that concerns sensuality.  And how shall we grow in holiness?  By receiving the implanted word, the word the Holy Spirit used to birth us anew unto salvation, the word that completes our salvation begun at our regeneration through its sanctifying work in our lives.  But it must be applied to our lives—read, digested, and above all, obeyed.  With such application of the word to our souls, we cannot not grow and be ready with a fit word when we have waited to speak (Proverbs 25:11).

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: