A Season to Be Quick to Listen, Slow to Speak and Slow to Anger
We are in a season where listening will be far more necessary than responding; where understanding is more necessary than being understood. We need to be slower in responding and reacting and be very quick to listen to what is being said, or in some cases, what is not being communicated, but implied. This doesn't just apply to our spiritual ears, but to our natural ears as well.
"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry." (James 1:19, NIV)
It is safe to say, history has proven that we, the Church, tend to respond or react quickly; but this behavior will not benefit us much in this coming season.
There is a significant testing of our character taking place. Do we have the nature of Christ? Will the manifest love of Christ show through in the way we respond and in the way that we act? We must be slow to anger and quick to love. (Photo via Piqsels)
The Lord and those we interact with are weighing our hearts.
Displaying the Nature of Christ
"The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy. He will not always strive with us, nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us." (Psalm 103:8-12, NIV)
We are finding ourselves in many situations, just as Jesus did, where our character and nature are being tested. The enemy is ultimately trying to set us up for failure; he wants to use our wrong responses against us. If we recount through the gospels, the religious and political nature of the Pharisees repeatedly tried to manipulate situations to disprove of the nature of Jesus.
"Then He said to them, 'What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.' Then He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand.' And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him." (Matthew 12:11-14, NIV)
"So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, 'Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?' But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 'Why do you test Me?'" (Luke 20:20-23, NIV)
Even when the Pharisees brought Jesus the woman they caught in adultery, they intended to entrap Jesus to disprove Him. At that moment, instead of responding with anger or frustration, Jesus reminded them of the way of mercy. He leveled the playing field between their self-righteousness and her sin. Initially, Jesus acted as if He'd never heard the words of the Pharisees. It was not until after they asked the same thing multiple times that He finally acknowledged them. (Photo via Flickr)
This Is Our Opportunity
We are being faced with temptation after temptation to lash out and live from the flesh. But at the same time, we are being given opportunity after opportunity to display who Jesus is.
"Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV)
Our actions and our responses will prophesy to the world of Jesus. How we say a thing on behalf of the Lord is equally if not more important than what we say.
We understand that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, or in other words, the Church is proclaiming the nature of Jesus for all to see.
"...For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." (Revelation 19:10, NIV)
Moses was asked to strike the rock to get the water for God's people, and he did. However, he did it in anger. His heart posture in his acting on behalf of the Lord made it appear like God was angry. He falsely and poorly represented the Lord's heart and voice, which led to Moses not reaching his promise.
"And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, 'Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?' Then Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 'Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them.'
"This was the waters of Meribah, because the children of Israel contended with the¬†Lord, and He was hallowed among them." (Numbers 20:10-13, NKJV)
"Then I pleaded with the Lord at that time, saying: 'O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your greatness and Your mighty hand, for what god is there in Heaven or on earth who can do anything like Your works and Your mighty deeds? I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.' (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
"But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the LORD said to me: 'Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan. But command Joshua, and encourage him and strengthen him; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which you will see.'" (Deuteronomy 3:23-28, NKJV)
But the Greatest of These Is Love
We are in a time where Jesus is going among His people and checking for fruit. He is looking for the fruits of the Spirit. He is looking to see if we have love.
The greatest demonstration of power the earth has ever seen was the love that put Jesus on the Cross and then rose Him from the grave just three days later.
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Westley Roderick¬†is the founder of LoveSpeaks Ministries in Shreveport, LA. At the age of 19, while on a search for spiritual discovery, Westley foretold his own coming to Christ, which led to unconventional salvation. Shortly following, he had an experience where Jesus appeared to him and commissioned Westley into ministry. Through multiple encounters with Jesus and His manifested love, Westley was ruined in the very best way possible and now spends his life speaking of God's heart for humanity. Westley's ministry brings an awakening to the heart, with a revelation of a tangible and real, loving God, and the hope humanity has through Jesus' sacrifice. For nearly two decades, Westley has had a role in pastoring, training, and equipping people for ministry. His heart is to point to the pathway of sonship.
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