Defining Holiness – Part VII
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 1:13-25
Key Verse: Hebrews 12:14
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
In yesterday’s devotional I talked about one of the most practical verses in the Bible, especially when it comes to dealing with our anger (James 1:19-20).
Everyone deals with the emotion of anger. Some have learned to hide it; some have learned to deny it. But God gave all of us a set of emotions, and anger is a part of them.
It is easy to belittle those who have not learned to handle their anger appropriately. This is usually more of an upbringing problem than a spiritual problem. Remember, Jesus told us to not judge other people.
If you are a person who is struggling with anger, please stay with me for these devotionals.
I want to look at James 1:19-20 in more detail today. James was writing to Christ-followers, as he starts these verses with “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters…”.
The first lesson is learning to be quick to listen.
Our normal way of listening is to allow another to talk, while we are usually thinking of our come back! We are all guilty of it.
What must we learn to listen for? We are to listen for their actual motive or what they are trying to say. Nobody can express themselves perfectly, so when we do not look beyond their words to try to hear what they are trying to say, we are not listening!
This is very hard to do. I am in no way an expert at it. I have tried, but many times I am unsuccessful. But I am trying to stop making excuses for myself and giving myself permission to get angry.
Part of this first step is to realize how hard it is and not to expect to be perfect at it every time.
Here is what I have found. When I slow down my talking and ask myself what the other person is trying to say, I usually can see it. When I cannot, then I need to ask more questions, and that is a great way for me to have a calm conversation without anger.
Our first challenge, then, is to quicken our listening by asking ourselves “what are they trying to say” rather than “what am I going to say back to them”.
In my presence, a wife said to her husband “you never take me to the cabin”. Tomorrow I will tell you what the husband “heard” her say and how he responded.
Just for fun, guess how you think he responded, and try to think what she was trying to say!
Father, I want to be a better listener, please help me find the right questions to ask and to make this possible. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.