Slow to Speak

Posted on 07/25/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***

Public Prayer Requests:

That my husband Michael, who left me and is living in adultery with another woman, will open his heart and mind to the Father, Son and The Holy Spirit and accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior. That my family will be healed. Also that myself and my children be healed of our ocd.


Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.



He is the King of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
 Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

...of Kings
He is the Lord of Lords
His name is Jesus, Jesus,
 Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- He is the King

His name is Jesus, Jesus,
 sad hearts we've no more
He can heal the broken hearted
 open wide the prizon doors
And he's able, yes he's able
 to deliver evermore

You are the King of Kings
You are the Lord of Lords
Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
 Jesus, Jesus
Oh -- you are the King

Your name is Jesus, Jesus,
 sad hearts we've no more

You can heal the broken hearted
 open wide the prizon doors

You can heal the broken hearted
 open wide the prizon doors

Yes, you can heal my broken heart and
 open wide my prizon doors

And you're able, yes you're able
 to deliver evermore


You are beautiful beyond description
 too marvelous for words
Too wonderful for comprehension
 like nothing ever seen or heard

Who can grasp your infinite wisdom
 who can fathom the depth of your love
You are beautiful beyond description
 majesty enthroned above

I stand, I stand in awe of you
I stand, I stand in awe of you
Holy God to whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of you


I'm finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak
Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see
Your majesty
To be still and know
That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest
In Your holiness
Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You
Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You
And in the quiet hear Your voice

*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***

Today, I'm not going to keep you very long; and I'd like for us to take a look at a passage with which most of us are familiar. James chapter 1, verse 19:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, let every one be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger."

Generally, we think of this as saying we should stop and think before we speak instead of blurting out the first thing that comes into our minds. And that most certainly would apply here. I can't count the number of times in the past I've said things without thinking about them first and have left a trail of embarrasment and hurt feelings.

But today, let's go a bit deeper, pulling back another layer or two.

"Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger."

Right in the middle of that sentence are the words "Slow to speak." What does that really mean? Obviously it doesn't mean we're supposed to -- speak -- very -- slowly. If so, some people from the hills would be in really good shape, while Italians and New Yorkers would be in big trouble.

Definitely the meaning we just touched on applies, to think before we speak. But that doesn't fit every single situation. Sometimes we need to say something quickly to avert trouble. Sometimes God will place something in our hearts that needs to be said right away, although he will also give you the deep knowing this is the case, and he won't tempt those who already have a problem with saying whatever comes to their mind.

But let's look a bit deeper. Is it possible to always think before you speak, and yet to silently be quick to jump to conclusions and form judgments? True, the word used here for "speak" means to utter, to talk; but it's also true that what we say has an origin that has nothing to do with our tongues, as Jesus said in Matthew 12:34, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks."

If you or I have already formed a conclusion, what we end up saying about the subject will come out of that conclusion. If we've already judged someone in our hearts and minds, we won't have much good to say about them, and if we talk to them, what we say will be affected by the judgment we have already made.

For example, let's say a 16-year-old girl walks into a church. No one has seen her before, but as they see her for this first time, it's obvious to everyone that she's pregnant.

Some people immediately pass judgment on her parents, believing that they didn't do their part to raise her right. Most people make the judgment right away that she's an immoral person, otherwise she wouldn't be pregnant. The mothers hope their sons stay far away from her. The daughters stay away from her without being told to do so, simply to protect their own reputation.

Most likely, no one, not a single person, knows that she was raped by the pastor of another church, and was too ashamed and afraid to tell anyone; and that she's here giving God one last chance to show her He is not defined by the hypocrites who claim to speak in his name -- one last try at the only hope she's known before she does something desperate and final.

It's so easy to be quick to speak, on the inside, to ourselves, in our hearts and minds. After all, our minds are already babbling a million miles a second, bouncing here and there, often repeating the same things over and over like a broken record. So when someone like this girl comes along, we play our old thought patterns quickly and loudly. We are quick to speak, and slow to listen.

In part, it's a form of security. The same thing that causes some people to sleep with the television or radio on. Silence is their enemy, almost like the movie-style holy water is an enemy to a creature of the night.

A little less extreme than this are those who have the television or radio on all day. If it's not music, it's talk. If it's not talk, it's a movie or our favorite T.V. show. And through all this noise, and especially if that noise starts to fade away, their own minds fill in the gaps.... thinking, thinking, jabbering... an endless flow of words and feelings, generally about the same things over and over and over again.

2 Corinthians 10:5 says, "Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."

Do we bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ? For most of us, we'd be working constantly, barely able to do anything else.

Just take a look at the number of automobile accidents in which someone just isn't paying close enough attention. Their minds are a million miles away. I challenge you to notice that the next time you drive somewhere. Your mind mostly likely is constantly jumping from this to that, and only a small portion of it is paying attention to what's around you.

Next, try being quiet. Stop jabbering in your head. Turn off the radio, and just watch the world around you, right where you are, right then. Unless you've practiced things like this, you might last a couple of seconds, and then your mind will take off again, being quick to speak and slow to listen.

It's security and habbit. Security because we are so used to constantly hearing the sound of our own mental voice, and because we tend to think that if we're not forming words in our heads, we're mental vegetables and won't be able to deal with things intelligently.

While the Bible doesn't directly instruct us to learn how to rest our babbling minds, there are strong indications, indirectly speaking.

Such as bringing every thought into captivity. Do you even know what your thoughts are? Most people don't. If you only knew how many times you thought the same things over and over again. For example, people who are afraid of rejection will have thoughts go over and over in their head which affirm that they will be rejected, or "what if" they are rejected; they will have feelings and imaginations concerning future events in which they see or feel themselves being rejected, abandoned, and ignored.

And what happens? Without even knowing it, they act in ways that bring their thoughts to pass. Even subtle body language and voice inflections, things most people don't notice on the outside, but feel on the inside, spring forth from these thoughts.

The same scenario can be seen taking effect in the area of finances, health, and pretty much everything else in life.

The Bible says our tongue is a rutter that steers our life. And now we know the tongue has its roots inside of our heart and mind.

If you want to know how to go through your day seeing what is actually there instead of constantly fogging up the scenery with the distortions of your own rambling mind, there are simple things you can do which are beyond the scope of this message. I've put some links in the bottom of the notecard that you can take a look at after the service, if you're interested.

But today, let's focus on learning how to watch our thoughts, because watching them is the only way to make sure they line up with God's Word, and that is the only way to bring them captive to the obedience of Christ.

Start watching your thoughts. Are you going over the same problems again and again? And if so, can you feel the weight of those thoughts and see how they're dragging you down?

Stop and remember Philippians 4:6 (NKJV):

6 Be anxious (worried) for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;

Your thoughts of worry need to be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Talk to God about the situation, and then start giving thanks; not necessarily because you think God will give you what you ask for, but because God is God and he has promised to work all thing together for your good.

Are some of your thoughts thoughts of self-pitty or grumbling about people or situations and circumstances?

Stop and remember 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NKJV):

18 In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

And give thanks for who God is and that his plans and purposes will all come to pass; thank him for all the good things he has and continues to pour into your life, sometimes disguised by or brought about by difficult people, circumstances, and situations.

And don't be afraid to be silent. Embrace every moment of silence and rest you can find.

Elijah had a time of haunting mental unrest. He had just seen God prove himself, resulting in the death of the priests of Baal, and Jezebel was furious. So she sent Elijah a message promising to kill him.

Elijah ran for his life, and, leaving his servant in Beersheba, he went a day's journey into the wilderness. And he prayed that he might die. He said, "Lord, take my life!"

Do you think that just maybe Elijah was thinking about Jezebel's threat over and over and over? He said to God, "Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!" That doesn't sound like a new thought. He had most likely been thinking about that ever since Jezebel's death sentence reached his ears.

His thoughts weren't in line with God's word. And they drove him into the wilderness, hoping and praying to die.

Have your thoughts ever driven you into a wilderness of despair? A place in which there is no refreshing water, no nourishment, no comfort. Nothing but the dry heat of the sun, and your own tormented thoughts.

Now, remember that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness. So if you find yourself in a dry place in your life, it's not necessarily a bad thing, and it might not be your fault. But sometimes we take ourselves there. And however we get there, our minds play and replay thoughts of defeat, fear, worry, dread, rejection, failure, and hopelessness. Things that are in opposition to the Word of God.

And then we wonder why the hot desert sand keeps whipping us in the face. But we think our thoughts are simply the way things are. And we start feeling more sorry for ourselves.

Well, I encourage you today to take a drink from the river of life that flows from the throne of God. Take your eyes off the storms around you, and put them on Jesus. Don't wait for your circumstances to change first. If you want to see the way things REALLY are, and if you ever want to see them change for the better, then praise God right now, and give him thanks for the good things he is forming through everything in your life.

Then pick up the Holy Scriptures. While God might say something to you right away, this is actually preparation. The angel gave Elijah food and drink that sustained him for 40 days. You very well might need bread from heaven to make it through what's coming. Hide it in your heart, and it will keep you on the path of life.

And then watch your thoughts. Make this a way of life. When you're sitting at home, watch your thoughts. When you're at the grocery store, watch your thoughts. Whatever you're doing, watch your thoughts. You don't need to interact with them, in fact you shouldn't interact with them if they're not good. Just watch them, realizing they are not you. You are not in the future being rejected, or in the past being misused and abused; you are right here, right now, immersed in the love and grace of God, watching what is passing through your mind.

And then don't wait until those bad thoughts are coming out of your mouth as prayers to die, or feelings of defeat, or self-fulfilling prophecies of failure or rejection or sickness or even death. Instead, take them into captivity to the obedience of Christ! And replace them with the Word of God and the promises God has made to you. And still them with thanksgiving and praise, realizing it's not about you anyway; and the more you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, the more good things He will bring into your life.

Let's read what happened to Elijah during his time in the wilderness.

1 Kings 19:11-12 (NKJV)

11 Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the LORD." And behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake;
12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

We look for signs and wonders. We look for miracles. We look for a prophet to stand up and speak your name and say, "Thus says the Lord." We're always looking for the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire.

But for Elijah, the Lord was not in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire.

We're so busy jabbering to ourselves and chasing after the spectacular, that we cannot hear the still small voice.

If you chase after anything, let it be to learn to be still and know that He is God, and that He will be exalted in all the earth. It's not about you. It's about Him. And as you learn how to take your eyes off yourself, and off your petty, seemingly bigger-than-life problems, and instead turn your eyes upon Jesus and seek to be more pleasing and draw closer to Him, then He will start bringing peace to your restless mind.

As Isaiah 26:3 (KMV) says, "You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you."

And what does Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) say?

8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.
9 The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

We tend to think on things that are worries and fears, injustice, rejections, what-ifs, and things that would be bad news. Then we wonder where our peace is. And we wonder why things don't seem to turn out right in our lives.

But if you want things to change, you need to meditate on something else -- things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous, and worthy of praise.

And THEN, the God of peace will be with you.

Let's all stand to our feet, as we close with a time of ministry and prayer.

And if you want to commit yourself to changing your mind, your thoughts, and the meditations of your heart, not waiting for things to change, but choosing for change to begin in your heart, then you're invited to get out of your seat and make your way to the front, and spend some time alone with God.

And as you come, let's pray.

Lord God, thank you for speaking to us today. We admit to you and to ourselves that our thoughts don't all line up with your word. They are not all your truth, they are not all noble, just, and pure, they are not all lovely, they are not all of a good report. But we choose right now to start watching our thoughts dilligently, and to tear down those mental strongholds that have kept us in the wilderness for so long.

Fill us afresh with your Holy Spirit, as we surrender these things to you. And teach us to be still, and to know that you are God; not a deeper knowledge of ourselves, but a deeper knowledge of you, as you change us, from glory to glory, into your image.

And now, Lord, I ask that you minister to each one who is coming to you today, making the decision to start watching their thoughts, bringing them into obedience to your Word and to the path on which you've set them and the marvelous plan you have for their life.

If you want someone to speak or pray with you, feel free to instant message me or anyone else on the staff or ministry team. Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed, and after this time at the altar, you're invited to the Fellowship Room to your left for a bit of fellowship.

Come, and let's dedicate ourselves to being slow to speak, and quick to hear and obey the still small voice of God.

The Silent Mind

Driving Meditation

The Daily Walk