Adlai Stevenson once opened an address to students at Princeton with these words: ‘I understand I am here to speak and you are here to listen. Let’s hope we both finish at the same time.’ But the truth is, a lot of church attenders get through listening long before the pastor gets through preaching.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear
Be slow to speak! The worship services of those days often featured people interrupting the speaker to share their own ‘insights’. And sometimes those ‘insights’ were ‘outsights’—out of touch with reality!
But there is another way in which we need to be slow to speak, namely, to ourselves. In other words, when the Word of God is being declared, we must be on guard against the tendency to be inwardly raising objections.
Be slow to anger! When the Word of God is accurately preached, we will often find that it hurts. It is a sword that pierces and cuts (Heb. 4:12)! How do we respond when this happens? Do we become resentful and combative? If we allow anger to come in, the Word of God will not come in!
Some fail to appropriate the Word of God because they are angry at the one who is delivering
Some fail to appropriate the Word of God because they are angry at the one who is delivering it! Perhaps they have seen a flaw in him. Or perhaps they disagree with something he has done in leading the church. Those in this category would do well to heed James’s word about being slow to anger.
Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?
FILTH, FILTHINESS - in a literal sense, foul or dirty matter; in a figurative sense, ceremonial uncleanness or spiritual corruption. "All our righteousnesses," declared the prophet Isaiah, "are like filthy rags" (Is. 64:6). But God will forgive and cleanse the sinner who repents and believes
The word ‘meekness’ tells us that we are to come to the Word with a soft, gentle, teachable disposition, recognizing the authority of God’s Word and submitting to it.
The Word of God has already been implanted in each and every Christian. How is it possible, then, to ‘receive’ a word which is already implanted? John Calvin suggests that James is saying we are to receive the Word so ‘it may be really implanted’. In other words, we are to go on receiving the Word of God in such a way that it becomes more firmly and deeply planted in our lives than ever before. We are to go on opening our hearts to it and welcoming it so that its truth will be transfused and transmitted into our lives.