My preschoolers love to play a game where they follow the leader slowly, then quickly with a STOP thrown in every once in a while. They have lots of fun and don’t even realize they’re learning to listen, follow and obey. I love being an under-the-radar teacher…provide the lesson with love and passion; then let them learn from doing! Of course, little people are far better at the quick part than the slow…and the STOP is usually just barely more than a pause. But then, we adults are pretty much the same, aren’t we, Lord?
About a year ago, I was teaching a women’s group from the very practical book of James in the Bible. One particular verse struck a deep chord with all of us. In fact, it gets brought up frequently as almost a rallying statement in our group: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…” from James 1:19. You are the Teacher calling out as we follow and learn to obey. As adults, we seem to wander around obstacles and challenging situations with ample opportunities to practice these spiritual skills. We haven’t mastered them yet, but Your still calm voice keeps repeating the instructions, watching to see if we are learning to obey.
Father, help me grow in obedience. There is one “Quick” and two “Slows” in this verse. The “Quick” actually requires us to stop our mouth and listen to You and others. The “slow to speak” is almost impossible without Your help. So is the “slow to anger!” My young students’ favorite part of the game is the STOP. They never know when it will happen. They have to freeze and listen. The longer I live with You, Lord, I believe the STOP is my favorite part, too. As I stop and am still before You, I am learning how to listen to You and others. Then I find the Holy Spirit slows me down and filters when I need to be angry and when I need to speak. Lord, that’s why I’m stopping right now to listen to You.
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.” James 1:19-20
“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” James 1:22
Father, help me stop and be still and listen to You right now…