OF FEW WORDS
“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry…..
…..do not merely listen to the word…..do what it says.”
(James 1:19, 22)
The five chapters in the book of James are actually five letters which he wrote to the early church. This was
within a few years after the death and resurrection of Jesus and while the majority of the church was made up
of Jewish converts. Commonly the opposite of James’ exhortation is what is practiced today by most
Christians: that is, quick to speak and slow to listen. Nothing has changed over the centuries. The people
who say the most have the least to say. That’s the example the world sets, and there is very little difference,
if any, among most Christians. Contrastingly, the wise person holds his or her tongue, weighs truth, and
considers godly action. Keeping one’s tongue in check is an acquired skill, and one which is the tell tale sign
which separates a mature Christian from an immature one. But being an acquired skill doesn’t mean by way
of anything we can control, but rather a discipline which is brought under control through prayer
John 3:14 tells us that “the Son of Man should be lifted up.” Keeping our focus on Jesus, taking seriously His
advice, and following His example lifts up His name. It’s a conscious choice. And certainly prayer is avenue
to this conscious choice. The man who was responsible for my coming to know Christ as my personal Savior
at age 16 was a tall, dignified man of few words. But when he spoke, his words were well chosen and
reflected his close walk with the Lord. So much wisdom, yet so few words.
A sermon, a witness, is almost always best delivered by a quiet strength. A strength from within. People
recognize honest conviction. They can sense it in the life of a saint. All the words in the dictionary aren’t
enough to compete with the life of someone walking in the footsteps of Jesus.
James 1:16 says “God chose to give us birth through the word of truth.” This is referring to a second birth,
a spiritual one, a born-again experience. Our spiritual eyes have been opened, our spiritual awareness
awakened. Wisdom from above has become available to us. It is an essential component of the Christian
life. Wisdom to understand the truths of God’s kingdom, wisdom to be quicker to listen rather than blabber
what we “think” we know. What good result can come from knowing truth and knowing how to walk in it, yet
not being able to do such a simple thing as controlling one’s tongues? When we speak it should be with
carefully considered words. If the truth indeed will set captives free, then it must be clear and simple,
reflecting God’s wisdom. Nothing reflects our Savior more than a Spirit filled life.
Actions speak louder than words. Prayer is a good way to start.