James 1:19 says, "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." Those words contain amazing wisdom when it comes to our relationships with family and friends. How many relationships between husband and wife and parents and children have blown up because we speak too quickly? We may get angry and say something we regret. We may say something and the other person is hurt or becomes angry at us. How many times in the heat of a disagreement do we not listen to what the other person is saying because we're thinking about our comeback? Many of these problems might be avoided if we learn to really listen to others and are sensitive to their feelings.
Our summer sermons series on the "Letter of James" is called "Real Faith / Real Life." Nothing could be more relevant or practical for our human relationships than what James tells us at the end of chapter 1. We all struggle with communication to some extent. The problem seldom is in expressing ourselves, it's in listening. I hope you'll join us in worship this Sunday to learn how to become a better listener. We have Traditional Worship at 9:00 a.m. and Contemporary Worship at 10:45 a.m.
We'll also discover this Sunday that listening is important in our relationship with God. We listen to God by reading the Bible. We listen to God in worship, because he says that when two or three are gathered in his name, he is with us. We listen to God when we pray, if in addition to telling God the things we want to tell him, we meditate and take time to listen to what he is saying to us. We listen to God in our small groups of believers, become God can speak to us through the words of other spiritually mature people.
James tells us it's not enough just to listen to God, when we hear from him, we've got to do what he says. If we don't do what God says, what good is that? On Sunday I'll have more to say about how we can listen to God and then take what we hear and put it into action. That's the secret to having a great friendship with God. I hope we'll see you at worship this Sunday.