Hi friend! Welcome to Episode 15 of Tending Your Soul Podcast, I’m Mariel and I’m excited to have you joining me today as we are digging into the book of James using my TEND method. Life is so tangling these days, isn’t it? We are weary and our souls are worn thin from culture, pandemics, divisions, losses, and struggles.
God’s Word offers the balm our soul longs for and just as my little backyard garden is refreshed when I come in and water it, our souls are refreshed when we slow down and just lean into the Lord through His Word.
My TEND method begins with T which is for taking time to pray so join me as we turn our hearts to the Lord.
Father, as we turn our hearts to you in this moment, would you open our understanding to see wonder things in your word, as Psalm 119 says? Speak Lord and enable us to listen with hearts that respond. In Jesus name. amen.
Once we have taken time to pray, we want to then turn our attention to the Word of God and examine the Scripture. This is to slow down, pay attention to the words in the text and put ourselves in the scene as the original audience. We want to examine the subjects, verbs, tenses and key words in the passage.
When I tend through verses I am careful to keep going from one verse to the next, rather than jumping around in the Bible. This helps us retain context which is very important to engaging with Scripture!
We have been tending through James chapter 1. Today the next verses we have are from James 1:19-21. Let’s look at these words.
Know this, my beloved brothers; let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
Now part of this might be pretty familiar to you. But seeing it in context adds such a beautiful depth and offers us the ability to rightly respond to God’s Word. So let’s look carefully to what it’s saying here.
I also want to say these three verses hold so much that we could honestly tend through each verse separately over the course of three days rather than all three at one time. But for today we are going to unpack them together.
But I do invite you to consider using the TEND method through each verse on its own after we have met for this overview of the three verses.
So as we consider these verses, James is speaking to “Brothers” in this letter, that is referring to believers. Those who are in the early church and have surrendered their hearts to Christ. As he urges them in this portion of the letter he even calls them “beloved brothers.” He is basically saying: Believers loved by God, here is a hard thing for me to remind you of, but listen up…
These few verses offer a response, a reason and a therefore do this.
So we want to pay attention to this very practical urging from Jesus’ biological half brother, James.
He uses a present active participle tense here, meaning it is a continual action. Keep doing this. BE quick to hear, BE slow to speak, BE slow to anger. Even in verse 21 he tells them PUT IT AWAY, a very present tense verb and a strong command. Do this now.
So as we Notice the lessons here we see the clear lesson that we, who are the beloved believers in the family of God, are to remember that our anger does not bring about the result we want>> the righteousness of God. Therefore we are called to respond with a willingness to hear, a slowness to speak and a slowness to anger. We are to put off of us the filth and take on meekly and humbly the Word of God which He has pressed into the soil of our hearts.
The translation here from the Greek to receive the word is a word that carries the meaning of welcoming with a high level of involvement. So James is urging these original readers, and us even as modern day readers, to get involved at putting off our filth while welcoming the Word of God into our lives, while hearing others well. We are being called to curb our anger and instead lean into the Word of God, ACTIVELY and CONTINUALLY.
So as we consider this lesson, which feels really lofty if we consider it apart from Christ. But James, remember, is reminding us we are the beloved of Christ as fellow believers in Him. So His Spirit working through us enables us to respond to this lesson in a God glorifying way.
As we move to Do what it says, we want to turn the lesson into a question we can respond to. So if the lesson is we are to put off the filth and actively welcome the Word, then we might ask what sin do we need to specifically put off that is keeping me from hearing others and actively welcoming the Word of God?
It might be pride, discontentment, selfishness that we must put off and instead renew our mind with the Word and it might even be to list the lies we are believing and then let God’s Word inform the truth that we must replace and act on.
Another question we can turn these lessons into could be even HOW am I going to actively welcome the Word meekly into my life and even into my day today? And by listening to this podcast as we tend through the word is a great start!
Then it might be taking the truth and renewing your mind with it through memorizing a verse or writing it on a card to refer back to continually.
When I was homeschooling my boys and was in the throws of those years of active daily homeschooling and feeling I was up to my eyeballs in character training, discipling, curriculum and balancing all the details of managing the house at the same time, it was easy to respond in anger some days. So at the time I wrote this verse in a personalized form and taped it right to the door of our homeschool closet so that every morning I was re-reminded of what was true.
I had written: Be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger because the anger of MOM does not bring about the righteousness of God.
How might we lean into living as the beloved of God and thus practice being quick to hear today and slow to speak or become angry? How might we put off the filth and actively welcome in the Word that God is pressing into the soil of our heart today?
Our doing what it says is our active response to these lessons in our day today.
And as we are learning in James, the DOING matters as we let God tend the truth into our soul as a gardener tends a garden.
As you consider the lessons God is teaching us from these verses, how might you need to respond?
Is there a sin God is urging you to put off? Name it before Him and repent and turn back again to the grace and goodness of your God.
Do you need to remember that as the beloved of God, you can hear others well and be slow with your words and emotions? Who might you need to hear today while holding your tongue and your feelings?
By the grace of God, He enables us to put feet to these responses that He quickens in our spirit. Let’s ask Him to do that.
Father, thank you that you enable us to repent and refocus in the direction you are calling us to walk in. Thank you, Lord, that we who are yours are beloved and I pray that out of that love we will be able to hear others well and welcome your implanted word with action in our day today. Amen.
I created a free booklet to continue to guide you to actively welcome the Word of God into your heart. It’s called Tools for Tending Your Soul, you can get it at marieldavenport.com for free today!
Until next time, friend, keep tending your soul by the Word.