We began our workout by discussing James 1:18-21 as a group.
Verse 18 - God is the one who brought us forth
- God is the sole author of salvation. He is the one who brought us forth out of our sinfulness, wickedness, and hardness of heart.
Verse 19 - Quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.
- We should have this mantra ingrained in our minds.
- Being slow to anger means being slow to wrath. The feeling of anger often results from an injustice done, and what soon follows is a mentality that wrath is justified to come upon the injustice.
- However, God is slow to anger, and so we should be like Him. Our anger does not correct the universe, nor does our anger accomplish right or good, nor does it achieve the righteousness of God (verse 20).
Verse 20 - The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God.
Question: How do we balance what Paul said in Ephesians 4: "Be angry, yet do not sin"? Is there an anger that is right before God? Should we develop anger when we see deeds that are offensive to God?
- Yes, we ought to be angry against sin. Committing sin is a cause for God's wrath.
- Jesus overthrowing money changers' tables at the temple. He acted in zealous anger for God.
- God hates idolatry.
- We can feel angry when we observe immorality in our lives and in others' lives.
- Although we feel anger toward things that are justifiably sinful, we should never give ourselves permission to act in unrestrained anger.
- When we feel angry, we must trust in God's sovereignty, acknowledging that He is ultimately the one in control of all things. We can have confidence and assurance in trusting that all things are in God's hands.
Verse 21 - To receive the Word, we must repent.
- We must let the Word fill us in all things - in our knowledge, our will, our character, and our actions.
- We can't expect to receive the Word or be truly changed by it if we are clutching onto sin.
- We must receive the Word in order for it to become implanted in us. When we receive the Word, it implants into us via knowledge and meditation, which then ought to be applied in practice.
- Reception of the Word involves more than just translation from words to actions. We must also understand implications for our lives and hearts. When we develop implications that apply toward changing our thought life and our character, those implications will relay into action.
- We should use new learnings and understanding to reflect on past experiences and evaluate ourselves. This should lead to correction and change. This change should not more than just performing actions, though. We must be hearers and continual doers. We must become transformed in our minds, our hearts, and in our characters. We can't just perform "good actions" in isolation, consider ourselves changed, and then turn back to a lifestyle of unrighteousness.