I welcome you to “Listening Speaking and Righteousness,” a daily devotional that will look at the transformative power of three powerful deeds in our lives as believers. 

Today, I want us to pause and reflect on the wisdom given to us by James, which says:

So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

James 1:19-20 (NKJV)

Our anchor verse of James 1:19-20 is instructing us to learn to listen attentively, to be and think through issues before we talk, and not to get angry at what we hear or see. 

Central themes James 1:19-20

  • Swift to Hear
  • Slow to Speak:
  • Slow to wrath
  • The righteousness of God

What the central themes mean is that the path of righteous communication, between you, and any other person, should be guarded by Godly awareness, hence it’s a guiding framework for cultivating a communication that is centered on Christ. 

Reflection on “Listening Speaking and Righteousness” 

The fact is, every believer is called to embody God’s love and truth in all facets of our lives. This includes communication, or if you like, effective Godly communication. 

Firstly, James is reminding us to be swift to hear, and what it means is that there are too many distractions, hence genuine listening has become a scarce virtue. This is a problem, since listening attentively is a very powerful act of Godly love, care and empathy. 

Today, I want us to start cultivating a deliberate culture of listening attentively. This will require us to set aside our own agendas, judgments, and preconceptions, that we hold, and truly seek to listen and understand others.

As we listen, we should also be attuned to the voice of God, to aid us to receive His wisdom, interpretation, and divine guidance.

Secondly, James exhorts the believer to be slow to speak, meaning not rushing to give answers, especially when you’re a bit incensed. The words we speak, beloved, hold immense power, that can either tear down or build up. The question is, should our words bring healing or inflict bad wounds, and the obvious answer, we all know. 

When we’re in haste, we may speak without thinking, and this can cause unintended harm. Therefore, we have to exercise restraint in our speech, by weighing our words carefully and allowing God’s truth and grace to guide our perverted tongues.

Let us speak words that encourage, build, uphold, uplift, and inspire others to draw closer to God through us.

Also, we have to be slow to wrath. A fit of untamed anger can disrupt relationships and hinder our Godly witness as followers of Christ. 

Today, the onus rests on us to totally and wholeheartedly surrender our anger to God for His transformative power to rule in us.

This will imply cultivating deep patience, restraint, forgiveness, and pure self-control. Retaliation should not be our bane. With grace, let us respond to conflict and seek resolution, rather than war.

Truth is, when the believer manages the anger within, it demonstrates the righteousness that flows from a heart yielded to a divine, yet loving God.

Ultimately, as we embark on the path of righteous communication, we embrace God’s design for our interactions.

Today, let us seek to reflect God’s character in our words, by how we speak, and by our actions through how we react.

It’s my prayer that our listening is marked by genuine care, empathy, and godliness. That our speech is guided by divine wisdom, insight, and pure grace, and that our attitudes are free from destructive and raging anger.

In doing so, we become vessels of His love and ambassadors of reconciliation, wherever we may be.

Prayer points for Listening Speaking and Righteousness

  • Pray for guidance in communication
  • Ask Him for pure patience and self-control
  • Ask God to align how you listen and speak with His righteousness

Let us pray

Our Father,

It’s our prayer that You help us to be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath.

Father, grant us the strength to listen well and attentively, to speak with wisdom and pure grace, and to manage our anger in a manner that reflects Your righteousness and the character of Jesus in us.

Lord, fill us with Your ever-present Holy Spirit so that our communication with our fellow humans will bring glory to Your holy name and be a conduit to build up those around us.

In the precious and mighty name of Jesus Christ, we pray.