In this day of instant information, we can get our news so fast that we don't have to wait for the evening news anymore. We don't have to wait for the newspaper. We can go out on the Internet and get our news in real time.
I think this makes it hard for us to slow down and listen, especially to God. Many of us are like Martha in Luke's Gospel, running around in our little self-made circles of activity, instead of calmly sitting at His feet and listening like Mary did.
The book of James tells us: "My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" James 1:19–20 (NIV).
We ought to post that verse where we can see it every day. How different our lives would be if we heeded its admonition.
James tells us we should be quick to listen, but we also should be slow to speak. How many times have you blurted out something, only to regret it the moment it left your lips? Jesus said, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matthew 12:36–37 NKJV).
We should be slow to anger: with our spoken words, with our e-mails and texts, and however else we choose to communicate. How easy it is to rationalize our outbursts of rage (especially when we're driving). But Proverbs 29:11 (NLT) says, "A fool gives full vent to anger, but a wise person quietly holds it back."
How much better our lives and our witness would be if we were quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. According to the Book of Proverbs, people who exercise self-control are the real heroes in life!
"Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city" (Proverbs 16:32 NIV).