slow to speak and act, and quick to listen and pray

James tells us that we’re to be slow to speak, quick to listen and slow to anger (James 1). I think in keeping with the rest of scripture, we can translate this into our actions, and more like our reactions to the inevitable curve balls which life throws our way.

What is the first thing we do when trouble comes? We act on it, one way or another. We have just about all the surface information available, right at our fingertips. And we come up with our own solutions to the problem, and try to get it done, after all, aren’t we can-do Americans?

But what if our first reaction and therefore action would be to pray? And to listen. Instead of “jumping the gun” like we do, and more often than not, doing more harm than good. And even the good we do is not accompanied with the Lord’s blessing, at least not in the same way it would have been, had we prayed and only moved after careful, prayerful deliberation before God. It is certainly true that at times we have to make difficult decisions, and even after prayer, we are not sure what to do. If possible, it is probably better to err on the side of either doing nothing, or of doing what directly might help someone else. And part of what might be going on is God helping us rearrange our priorities, so that our focus is more on other’s needs and welfare, and less on our own.

This is part of my own work in trying to nip in the bud those thoughts which can hit me and become a plague, and which I try to act against, but can find myself worse off than if I would not have done anything at all. And oftentimes, I will find that I really don’t need to do anything, at least not at the time, and possibly not at all.

Instead we need to bring every situation to God in prayer. And in a sense, leave it there, for God to take care of it. “Letting go and letting God” sometimes can be quite scriptural, and just the thing we need.

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