Proverbs 2-25-23

“The word planted in you”: a word picture of the mustard seed of faith growing inside of us.

31 He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32 Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

We started yesterday looking at James 1:19-21. Let’s look at our passage again,

19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 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.

There’s an old adage that says, “God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.” It’s actually pretty good advice. In the case of James and his flock, it was dangerous to speak too freely about their faith; it could get them arrested and even put to death. People knew they were different because of the way they lived. When prompted by the Spirit, people would ask them about their faith. It was at that time that they shared Jesus with them. At other times, they were ridiculed because of their “peculiar ways” (they didn’t participate in the temple sacrifices anymore).

I can see how it would be easy to get angry at people as they made fun of Christianity, Jesus, and their family and friends. James instructed them to be slow to anger with the reason that human anger did not produce the righteousness that God desires. There is righteous anger, but it needs to be directed at sin, the tempter (the devil), and the marred relationship between God and man.

How do we redirect our anger? By leaning on the word planted in us through instruction, the Bible, and especially the Holy Spirit. The word saves us from all kinds of pitfalls, temptations, hidden snares, and heartaches. Jesus wasn’t kidding when He said in John 10:10,

10 The thief only comes to steal, and kill, and destroy.

Ah, but look at the second part of the verse:

I came so that they could have life – yes, and have it full to overflowing.

We have passed from death to life by entrusting our lives to Him (John 5:24), and we live in that life by trusting Him daily. How? By abandoning all that is morally filthy and evil, which is so prevalent among us (that part hasn’t changed). May we spur each other on to “good works” (becoming like Jesus) and meet together to encourage each other. It’s important.

Abba, may You remind us often that we need each other. You have designed us to be social. May we seek each other out, confess to one another, hold each other accountable, and worship You together. Whether it be a large group or a small gathering of two or three persons, may You be lifted high among us. Amen.

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