Listen, Shut Up, Calm Down James 1:19-20

Clip-listen-words-as-silentSermon Summary.  Sunday’s sermon, “Listen, shut up, and calm down,” is a commentary from the Book of James that connects directly to the two great commandments.  God tells us to love him with all of heart, mind and soul and to love our neighbor as thyself.  When we are too caught up in ourselves and when we allow our mouths and our emotions to rule us we are unable to effectively do either.  Too often in the valley of Christ we are unable to develop mature relationships and/or move through conflict because we are unable to get a handle on our mouths and we are unable to “listen, shut up, and calm down.”  Let us work on these things together and grow a mature church. 

The Power of the Spoken Word.  Consider the power of the tongue.  In Genesis chapter 1, we see that it was with the word that God spoke all things into existence.  The Bible tells us that life and death are on the tip of the tongue in Proverbs 18:21.  Ephesians 5:20 tells us to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.”  And James 3 describes how the tongue is very small but it is like the bit in the mouth of a horse or the rudder of the ship. 

  • What are some ways that you have seen the power of the word used in a healthy and productive way in your life?
  • What are some ways you have seen in your life or the life of others where the spoken word has been destructive?
  • What are the challenges that we have in using the spoken word in healthy and positive and spiritual ways?

Swift to Hear/Listen.  The Bible does not only implore us to listen, but tells us to listen swiftly.  This is something that we have to focus on sometimes.

  • How is being “swift to hear” a way to “love our neighbor.”
  • Is this something that is challenging for you or others? Why?
  • How do you do at being swift to hear from God? Do we do that well in our individual lives?

Slow to Speak/Shut Up.  The second admonition from this text is to be slow to speak.  In doing this we can honor God and honor others.  It’s not always easy.

  • How is being “slow to speak” a way in which we can love our neighbor?
  • What are the challenges in seeking that make it difficult to be “slow to speak”?
  • Look at Philippians 2:3. What does it mean when the Bible tells us to esteem others more highly than ourselves?
  • Consider Jesus in the Galatians 2:5-8. Did he esteem himself more highly over others?  Can we do a better job of following his model?

Slow to Anger/Calm Down.  Again there is this challenge for how we interact with one another.  James here exhorts us finally to not be quick to turn to anger.  This is also a challenge but in following it we strengthen the church, the body of Christ.

  • How is being slow to anger a blessing to our relationships? To the church?
  • What are the challenges in our lives that make it difficult for us to be slow to anger? To forgive?
  • Consider all that Christ went through for us. Consider His time on the cross.  How often did we find Him operating out of anger?  How is He the model for how we work with one another?

God is calling for a unified body of Christ.  To be together and to work together effectively and to grow together requires us to be intentional in strengthening our relationships.  These things are all within our power to do.  We can strengthen our ability to listen.  We can strengthen our ability to be quiet and we can strengthen our ability to calm down and to grow together as brothers and sisters in Christ.  Let us continue to press along towards the mark of the high calling of Jesus Christ and be more like Him and less like the world.

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