The Second Greatest Commandment
A Simple Guideline – Part IV
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 3:8-17 (NLT)
Key Verses: 1 Peter 3:10-11 (NLT) For the Scriptures say, “If you want to enjoy life and see many happy days, keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.”
Continuing from yesterday’s devotional, let’s investigate how we can not only search for peace but also maintain it.
We all want to live in our homes, neighborhoods, and workplaces in peace, but it is not easy to be a peace maker.
The Apostle James gives us another simple guideline:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. (James 1:19-20 NLT)
When we master “quick to listen and slow to speak” in our relationships, we can master “slow to get angry”. This is because when we carefully listen, rather than thinking about how we want to refute while someone is talking, we usually hear things that we otherwise miss.
The discipline of being slow to speak gives us time to calm ourselves, think before we speak, and choose our response rather than react. This is a formula that is easy to understand, but not so easy to master.
It might surprise us if we could know how many relationships people wreck when they are slow to listen, quick to speak, and then get angry.
Haven’t we all said things in the heat of some argument that we really did not mean? But once we say something we cannot take it back. It is really hard to repair the damage those thoughtless statements do to another person.
The challenge comes when a conflict first comes up. The first natural and human reaction is anger, or maybe frustration. In our flesh we often lose the battle for a calm and short conflict because of the anger that flares up.
However, for Christ-followers, we have the advantage of having the Holy Spirit that lives in us and helps us think our way to a better outcome.
But, as the Apostle Paul reminded the Galatians, we must stay in step with the Holy Spirit if we want to live in God’s peace (Galatians 5:25). This means that we who are Christ-followers still must discipline our flesh to obey what the Spirit reminds us to do.
The more a Christian ignores the Spirit, the more they live by the flesh. This usually ends in disaster for their relationships. Divorce rates almost as high in the church as they are in the world tells us that far too many Christians are not listening to their Spirit voice.
If you have had a divorce since you have become a Christian, do not let this condemn you but rather let it remind you that there is a better way to manage conflict.
Let’s resolve to stay in tune with the Holy Spirit, be quick to listen, and slow to speak so we can avoid anger and more quickly resolve conflict in our relationships.
Father, I want You to fill my live with Your peace. Grant me strength to listen to Your Spirit and not my flesh. In Jesus’s Name, amen.