Discipline, Control, and Prayer

I love the book of James.  It’s just so good and so practical.  Many times we feel as though faith can be in the clouds, it is just a philosophical exercise.  That is not true, especially in the Old Testament with Proverbs and in the New Testament with James.  They so remind me of each other.  They are both just so practical.  Listen to what we are told today in James 1: 19-21:

19 You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. 21Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls.

Good, solid stuff today.  Quick to listen, slow speak.  Slow to anger.  Rid yourself of wickedness.  Welcome meekness.

Good wisdom for today.  Quick to listen.  Slow to anger.

Yep, we all agree that is good advice for the living of life.  So, let’s go out today and do it!  Go team!

But here’s the problem.  That’s hard. That’s hard to do. It’s hard to listen at times, isn’t it?  It’s hard to not speak hastily sometimes, isn’t it?  It’s hard not be angry at times.  These demands, these lifestyles, they require disciple and grace.

praying-614374_960_720And discipline (or better put, self-control) is a fruit of the spirit.  This only happens through the Holy Spirit.

Yes, we can be disciplined at times by our own will power.  But it is really hard to lead a life of self-discipline apart from the Holy Spirit.  We really can’t do it.  

Today, chase after Jesus.  Follow His spirit.  Follow His power.  Live His life.  And He will produce these things in you.  Center yourself on Him.  When you feel it welling up inside of you to speak in a way that you shouldn’t slow down.  Pray.  Listen.  Let God be your voice.

When you really don’t want to listen, take time to remember that Jesus died for that other person as well.

When we want to get angry, ask, what is accomplished by this?  By giving into this, what is really accomplished good for us, for others, and for the kingdom?  

These things, these practical words of wisdom, they are lived out only through prayer.  Through seeking God. Through listening to His voice.  Through loving Him and loving others.  

Today, breathe.  Pray.  Listen.  Love.  Serve.  Give.  Seek God and His kingdom.  

And He will produce in us this, as well as many other, fruit!  

If you’d like to be added to my devotional list, click here to sign up.  You also can read these thoughts on St. Matthew’s mobile app.  Click here to download!

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