"Dancing Through Life"

James 1:19 “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.”

Hello friends! I am eager to dive into the Word together again. So let’s jump right in!

When I was a little girl I enjoyed dancing. I never took classes or anything structured but I loved going into my bedroom, turning on my favorite song, and dancing. There was something so exhilarating about it. Of course, my stuffed animals always told me I was the best as they begged for an encore.

In high school I was swept away by the “Cha Cha Slide” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe” line dances that took my youth group by storm.

You’ve probably guessed that when Zumba came out I was a big fan (although I am terrible at it).

And the first time I danced with a boy was the evening my husband asked me to marry him (Wouldn’t you know that my first slow dance was to “Beauty and the Beast?” Insert everyone’s “aww” here).

With that short synopsis you have the extent of my dancing career.

I am sure by now you’re asking yourself why you’re wasting your time reading about my meaningless dance experience.

Isn’t it ironic how you always ask the right questions?

James may not have intended to do this, but in James 1:19 he provides us with the dance steps of life, as I my childhood pastor, Bob, called it. It’s a simple quick, slow, slow.

Today I would like to share my personal thoughts on this dance with you. 

The first step in this dance is being quick to hear. The work hear is a verb. It’s active. We make the decision to actually hear. Sure our ears take in sound all the time. But when you really want to hear something you focus on it. We should be quick to do this with God and with other people.

First, when you hear God speaking, through the Word or the Spirit, be quick to hear. Listen to what He is telling you. I am positive that it is important and to your benefit to hear His words. So stop what you’re doing and actively listen to His voice.

Second, when you’re talking to other people, be quick to hear them. So often we are consumed by our daily woes that we do not actually hear what people are saying to us.

When the barista says she has had better days and you reply “Good!” That’s a problem. You’re not listening.
When your husband tells you about His day at work, put down your cell phone and listen. Actively engaged your ears to hear him.
When someone asks you to pray for them, listen.

Be quick to hear. So many people are hurting and need someone to hear them. Therefore, we as ambassadors for Christ, need to listen like He does.

The second step flows directly out of the first. We slow down the dance a bit as we become slow to speak.

Just as dancing demonstrates, many of us have two left feet. The same goes for the James 1:19 dance. Friends, I am guilty of fumbling through this step so if you feel as though this is the one that trips you up, you are not alone.

Most of the time those of us that are quick to speak have good intentions. We want to help people -- share our wisdom with them. Or we do not see adults at all throughout the week so the minute we are in the presence of anyone over twenty we explode like a pressurized soda bottle sharing every detail of our life. Or we simply do not pay close attention to how often we dominate the conversation. We do not mean to take up every second but we do. We do not mean to redirect the conversation to our story but we do.

Remember, I told you that I am guilty so please do not feel like I am throwing you under the preverbal bus. I assure you that is the last thing I want to do. However, those of us who get this portion of the dance backwards tend to stumble our way through and end up with our foot in our mouth.

Words are powerful. When we gab on and on we run the risk of saying foolish things or alienating those we are in conversation with. This can ruin our opportunity to share the gospel.

Therefore, be slow to speak. Give others the opportunity to share their lives with you. You’ll never know the impact listening has on someone’s day. Also, if you’re the only one talking then you may never know when the chance comes to share the gospel. We might miss it if we are not slow to speak.
Being slow to speak provides us with the opportunity to listen. Just as in a dance these two steps flow in and out of each other. If we are slow to speak then we will be quick to listen. Isn’t it beautiful how that works out?

The final movement in this dance of life is the most difficult of all. For this step we must be slow to anger.

James instructs us to be slow to anger and gives us a reason (probably anticipating our rebuttal and complaint). Why are we to be slow to anger? Because anger does not produce the righteousness of God. Simple enough.

When we are quick to anger we glorify no one but ourselves. It doesn’t say that it is not right to experience anger as an emotion during certain times in our lives. It says to be slow to anger.

As followers of Christ we must practice self-control. This is a fruit of the Spirit. It is essential. Too often we attempt to defend our emotional impulses. We make excuses for why we yell at the driver in front of us, speak disrespectfully to our husbands or unlovingly to our wives, lose patience with our children, or run our fists into walls. Usually it is the other person’s fault. Or it’s our right to express ourselves. Perhaps, it’s just “one of those things.”

Friends, we are called to be slow to anger. If you have found yourself in any of this, like I have, than ask the Holy Spirit to make you slow to anger. As life presents you with opportunities listen to Him as He instructs you to control yourself and submit your emotions to Him.

This step is very important. When we are slow to anger we appear different from the rest of the world. Look at the society you live in. There are fights in open areas. People are shooting other people. Children are stabbing other children. Parents are abusing their children. Husbands are aggressive towards their wives and increasingly vice versa. Verbal abuse is becoming a common problem in the home.

Why?

Because our society gratifies itself. It lives for each emotional whim (that’s a different blog post all together). When the world is angry they are quick to express it. Let us be slow to it so that we may, in turn, glorify God. When we appear different, people will take notice, and it will present us with the opportunity to share Christ.

You see, that is the purpose of this dance. When we “quick, slow, slow,” through life, people will notice. However, we do not want them to notice us, what’s the point of that? No, we want them to notice Christ within us. This dance will capture their attention and which, in turn, will allow you to share why you dance and who you dance for – you’ll be able to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.



Holy Spirit, help me to dance the dance of James 1:9. Would you make me quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger today? Help me to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit by being self-controlled. Please present me with the opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus with someone as I live out your dance today. Amen.

Now… Let’s dance!

Comments

  1. Thank you for this wonderful post! It certainly hit home for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise the Lord! Thank you for sharing!

      Delete
  2. Beautifully delivered! I will always think of James 1:9 as 'The Dance of Life' moving forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Praise the Lord! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

      Delete
  3. Loved the visual of a quick, slow, slow dance movement! What a clever way to remember this verse....and apply it! Will practice these dance
    steps! Love you!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

What is Wrong with the World?

W.W.J.D.

Craving Something Salty...