November 21, Wednesday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“Greater Are His Ways”

James 1:19-21

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

(To continue yesterday’s story) After my running accident, I was told I needed surgery. Devastated—knowing that I did not have the money to pay for the surgery—I shared with a church sister in tears. About a week later, I received a text that this sister had made arrangements for me to attend a healing conference in Georgia. Humbled and overwhelmed, I flew to Georgia with so much confidence that God would heal me. Every passing day I waited for God to do what seemed like the impossible, but every day nothing changed. I left Georgia still in pain and distraught that nothing had changed. But a week after I arrived home, something was radically different in me. That is, it took me about a week to realize God had healed me of my depression during the conference!

In our moments of trial, anger is usually the first emotion we feel. Anger was not only my first reaction during my accident, but it was my perpetual attitude after hearing I needed surgery. Today’s passage teaches us, however, that “human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires” (v.20). How many times have we found ourselves in the wrong place for allowing our anger to get the best of us? In our anger we say things that hurt others, we blame God, and we act in full rebellion to God’s Word. But James calls us to righteousness by humbly accepting the Word planted in us (v.21). We are called to respond to every situation with the truths declared in Scripture. While human anger will always reap works of the flesh, the Word will always reap righteousness in our lives.

I went to this conference angry and hurting, wondering how I got to this point after a simple attempt to change my life. But God’s plan was always to bring healing and restoration in ways I did not expect. That is the promise in Scripture that God “knows the plan [He] has for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). Whatever you are going through, may today’s passage be a reminder to look to the promises of Scripture instead of responding in human anger. His plans are always good, and we can trust and hope in His promises that never change.

Prayer: God I thank You that I can trust in every word You have declared. Help me to respond to all situations with humility and not in anger. Help me to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to be angry. In Jesus name. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Ecclesiastes 1


Lunch Break Study

Read Titus 3:1-7: Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, 2 to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. 3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.

Questions to Consider

  1. What reminder does this passage give to all Christians?   
  2. What does this passage say regarding what we used to do before God our Savior appeared?
  3. Why do you think the author reminds us of what Christ has done for us after telling how we should act as well as how we used to be before meeting Christ?

Notes

  1. The passage reminds us to be submit to authority, to be obedient, do what is good, slander no one, be peaceable and considerate, and gentle towards everyone.
  2. The passage reminds us we were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passion and pleasure, and we lived in malice, envy, and hatred.
  3. The conjunction “but” in verse 4 seems to imply that because God has saved us, we are saved from our old ways and we are able to act according to verses 1 to 2.

Evening Reflection

Today we looked at James’s call to respond in righteousness by the way of the Word in moments of trial. Although our natural response may be anger during times of difficulty, our lunch break passage reveals that because of Jesus’s work on the cross we can respond in obedience and gentleness. Take some time to reflect on the day and write down instances that you may have responded in your old nature. Go in repentance before the Lord, but do not be discouraged, for it is God’s work on the cross that will allow the Holy Spirit to help you overcome. Remember, you are a new creation and God’s mercies are new every morning.

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