James part 4, A study of James 1:19 & 20, James 1:21, James 1:22 - 24, and James 1:25 featuring our Common Man's Commentary

James 1:19 & 20

"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." NIV translation

Now, James gives us an example of faith in action and he wants us to remember this as he says "take note of this". We are to always listen and that means listening to others and what they are saying but it also is a reminder for us to slow down and listen to the Holy Spirit which lives inside of us. That will help us to do the other two (slow to speak and slow to anger). James reminds us that anger does not reflect the life that God wants for us. We must keep in mind though that this slow to anger does not mean that we sacrifice the truth of the Word of God. He says "slow to speak" which does not mean that you do not speak up when directed by the Holy Spirit. It simply means that we wait on the direction of our speech which comes from God.

James 1:21

"Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you." NIV translation

This may seem that James is telling us to work for our salvation but, once again, that is not what he is saying. He is telling us that the word makes us aware of all of the moral filth and tells us how to overcome it. He is telling us to repent of our sins and turn to the Lord which is how we are saved.

James 1:22 - 24

"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." NIV translation

The Word of God is like a mirror to us; as we read it, the Holy Spirit shows us what it means and compares our lives to God's standards. When necessary, the Spirit will convict us of a need to change our attitudes or actions. Disobeying that prompting is as silly as a man walking away from a mirror and forgetting what he looks like.

James 1:25

"But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it - he will be blessed in what he does." NIV translation

Freedom given by the "perfect law"? Yes, that is true as the law of God is perfect and its purpose is to point us to the need for a savior. We are pointed to the freedom that is found through Jesus Christ and, through Him, we have salvation as He kept the law for us. But, James is telling us that, if we put God's law into practice in our lives (not for salvation but for the glory of God), we will be blessed in what we do. God is happy with obedience to His word!