Listening, Speaking, and Doing October 3-7
James is writing to religious people who have most likely grown up in the Jewish faith. They know God’s law. But James keeps pushing them to take the next step. Don’t just hear it, do it! Saying no to worldly temptation is a great start—God loves that—but He also loves that we walk in obedience to what He says. God requires both knowledge of and obedience to His Word. James encourages us to become more aware of the driving force behind our words and actions.
Day 1 James 1:19-27
Reflect: Why is righteousness so opposed to anger? How does merely listening to God’s Word lead to self-deception? How would you put verse 26 in your own words?
Apply: How is your faith played out in your words? How is it not? How well do you handle anger? Why? What prevents you from being a “doer” more than just a listener of the Word?
Pray: Jesus, thank You for changing me from a condemned sinner into a redeemed saint. In my daily living, may I continue to grow and abide in Your grace and knowledge as a reflection of Your love and goodness, and to honor You.
Day 2 James 3:1-12
Reflect: Why do you think James has such a negative view of the tongue? How do the examples he gives from nature help us understand? How can the tongue defile the entire body?
Apply: With what kinds of sinful speech do you sometimes struggle? What is the root of the problem? Why can’t you tame your tongue on your own? How can God help you?
Pray: Father, as I remember the times I have been hurt or have hurt others by harsh words, I thank You for the warning about the devastation that can result from my unguarded words. Help me to keep my tongue under control so that my words reflect humility, and gentleness of heart, acceptable to You.
Day 3 Proverbs 10:18-21
Reflect: What wisdom do you gain from these proverbs? Which verses speak loudest to you. Consider this—the more right you are with God, the better your words will sound.
Apply: Read this text in the NLT or Message Bible version and see what insights you gain. Write a proverb of your own regarding the tongue. Ask someone to help keep you accountable.
Pray: Lord, forgive me for hurting others with unkind and mean words. Purify my heart of the things that are unholy and seal my lips from speaking sinful words.
Day 4 Matthew 21:28-32
Reflect: Who do the characters in the parable represent? When it comes to faith, what does the parable tells us about words and actions? What is Jesus’ point?
Apply: When have you responded and acted like the first son? Like the second son? How is God, like the father in the parable, calling you to action?
Pray: Holy Spirit, show me when my good intentions are meaningless and promises are empty when not followed by action. May my words and actions reflect a heart that seeks to honor You.
Day 5 Ephesians 4:22-29
Reflect: What new insights do you get from Paul about our tongues and how they impact our relationships? Why is speaking truth so crucial? How do your words benefit others?
Apply: Consider how you speak to God compared to how you speak to those He created. If the words that you speak indicate who you really are, then what do you most talk about in an average day? When you speak such things, what kingdom are you building?
Pray: Father, examine my heart and expose any areas that are displeasing to You. Help me to root out any hypocrisy and remove any mask of pretense that I‘m hiding behind. In the way You love me, help me speak truth out of love for others.
Put It Into Practice!
Week 2: Do you need to develop the ability to be “quick to hear, slow to speak”? Is there a person in your life with whom you should do more listening? Work on this. You might even think of some questions to ask in your next conversation. Focus on those, not on your own responses.