Leading With My Ears

Ear on a boat

“Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear. God’s righteousness doesn’t grow from human anger.” James 1:19-20 (The Message) 

I have looked at these verses for the past 11 years mainly as parenting verses. Verses to team up with the wisdom of Proverbs 31:26, telling me to open my mouth with wisdom and to have the law of kindness on my tongue. You know, instead of having a tongue that attacks with the lethal skills of Chuck Norris, enforcing the law of “I’m the mommy and I said so!”

Harsh words, unkind words, words spoken in haste – none of these build my daughters up in the Lord. James 1:19-20 reminds me to slow down and listen to my girls, encourages me to choose my words wisely, forcing anger to take a back seat.

But the Lord showed me one day that these aren’t just helpful parenting verses, not simply words to turn to when dealing with difficult people – James 1:19-20 can also apply to how I address myself.

I admit it – I’m not always very nice to me. Mistakes and downright sin bring on a barrage of angry words. What is wrong with you? Why do you always do that? When are you ever going to change? You are such a (insert any number of not nice names for self). I tear myself to shreds mentally, as if that is going to stir me to finally get my act together.

But those harsh words just leave me feeling even more defeated, never inspiring the changes I desire. How thankful I am for the wisdom I can now turn to in this passage of Scripture.

First, I need to…

Lead with my ears.

When I blow it, instead of going straight into beat myself up mode, I need to close my mouth and listen to the Lord. I need to get into His Word and hear what He has to say about me. What are His promises? What is the truth about me and my situation?

Then, and only then, should I…

Follow up with my tongue.

Once I have heard His truths, I need to speak those things out loud over myself. Speaking hope and life instead of condemnation and death. Speaking the living, powerful, life-changing Word of God.

And finally? I have to…

Let anger straggle along in the rear.

Our God is a “compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and graciousness.” (Psalm 85:16, emphasis added) I feel sure He does not want us being as cruel to ourselves as we all too often are. How it must break His heart to hear us belittle ourselves when He has called us His beloved and chosen sons and daughters.

How have you been talking to yourself lately? Has anger been in the driver’s seat, leading the way? I think today is a great day to start leading with our ears instead, listening to what our gracious Father has to say before we utter a single word – to ourselves or to anyone else.

8 Responses to Leading With My Ears
  1. Carol Hatcher
    July 5, 2012 | 8:50 am

    Guilty! This was a GREAT one! Is this the play-doh you were playing with? What a beautiful masterpiece! 🙂

    • Kimberly
      July 5, 2012 | 9:26 pm

      Yes, sweet Carol. This IS the play-doh. 🙂 Thanks for sharing that encouraging illustration with me. It is one I won’t forget!

  2. Tami Van Vleet
    July 5, 2012 | 9:02 am

    Gee Kimberly, this is the second post relating to this topic I’ve read in about 20 minutes! Wonder if He’s trying to tell me something? Thank you for your writings; you have such an honest, but polished way of saying things! And it’s not in a beat-you-over-the-head kinda way!

    • Kimberly
      July 5, 2012 | 9:30 pm

      Thanks so much, Tami! I am so glad you do not feel like I beat you over the head with the things I write. Sadly, I used to be a bit more brutal with the Word. He has had to humble me over the years. And I am sure He still needs to do plenty more!

      How cool you read another post similar to this in such a short time period. I LOVE how He wants so much for us to hear His voice that He will say something to us in more than one place. Praying the precious truths He is wanting you to hear sink deep down into your heart.

      Blessings, K 🙂

  3. Stephen Whitlock
    July 5, 2012 | 2:12 pm

    To have your pastor say that you are special; or you reflect Christ; or that you are doing God’s work. Being 60+ and still finding that your true worth is not at all as you have viewed it is not so easy. There are some who still are wrapped in the old wrappings of yesterday-making self of the lowest. So that even as I might want to grow-it still comes across,Christ died for the sins of man, and down at the lowest I sit hoping that this will even cover at times.

    • Kimberly
      July 5, 2012 | 9:40 pm

      “There are some who still are wrapped in the old wrappings of yesterday..”

      Yes. I wrote another devotion for this site not too long ago. Basically, it was one about a wedding dress and how Christ has paid the price in full for me to wear pure white, to wear His righteousness, and yet, I (feeling unworthy) mentally still slip into the harlot clothes of the days of old. And one day I felt Him ask me, “Why do you do that? Why do you keep taking off the dress I gave you?” His blood covers, it washes clean. And how I cheat myself when I sit in the old wrappings of yesterday…when He has paid so high a price to clothe me in His righteousness.

      And may be totally off base here from the point of your comment. Just what came to mind. Blessings to you, sir! It is always good to hear from you. 🙂

  4. Amy Alves
    July 5, 2012 | 3:43 pm

    Very good girl! Wow, may we continue to learn how to love others as we love OURSELVES! 😉 Thanks for sharing your heart girl! ~ Amy

    • Kimberly
      July 5, 2012 | 9:33 pm

      Thanks, Amy! You bless me with your willingness to stop by my blog AND then by here, too. 🙂 And yes…I know I still have so much to learn about love…loving myself, loving others, receiving love, giving love. Thankful we can learn from One who loves so perfectly and unconditionally.