Weekly Devotional | The Difference Meekness Makes
This devotional is based on CJ Mahaney's sermon, The Difference Meekness Makes, given on February 28th, 2016.
Day 1: The Anger of Man — James 1:19-20
- “If Christians studied and applied this command alone (verse 19), the tone and content of communication and conversations on the internet would change immediately and dramatically. Untold damage is done to relationships and to the church and to the advance of the gospel whenever this command is ignored.” CJ Mahaney
Questions to Consider:
- In the context of a trial, it is particularly difficult to remain quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. Reflecting on personal experiences, what specific “triggers” tempt you to become unjustly angry or to speak too quickly? Jesus’ death removed God’s wrath from you. How does this truth help you kill unrighteous anger?
- Read John 2:13-17. What about Jesus’ anger is different from the kind of unrighteous anger James is referencing? Is Jesus’ anger self-centered?
- Read 1 John 4:10-11. Praise God that he chose to love us by giving us Jesus, his own Son, while we were still his enemy! Ask that God would give you a greater love for the gospel and an eagerness to give grace in light of it.
Day 2: Putting Away Sin — James 1:21
- “James never softens his understanding of sin. The doctrine of sin is present and pronounced through his letter, and it will serve us. His description of sin is an accurate description. It is meant to warn us about the deceitful nature and fruits of sin. It brings forth death. Ultimately it leaves us in deep gratefulness that God has sent his Son and sacrificed him on our behalf for our sin.” CJ Mahaney
- “Identify the occasions and means of temptations and the specific forms of sin facing you. Fight them. Flee them. Put away anything and everything that is morally defiling. Put away anything and everything that is inconsistent with the righteousness of God. Put it away! Feel the urgency in James’ words! Put away!” CJ Mahaney
Questions to Consider:
- Consider the words that James uses to describe sin. Filthiness. Rampant wickedness. Examine your own heart. Do you feel this same hatred toward your own indwelling sins and the sinfulness around you? What words do you use to describe them? Do they tend to soften the harshness of sin?
- What sins come to mind when reading this passage in James? How do trials tend to bring them to the surface? Do they cause you to be quick to speech or anger?
- Read Romans 6:20-23. Thank God that he has saved us from a life of futility and death! Ask him for the courage to continue putting away your sin, that you may enjoy life with Jesus more abundantly.
Day 3: The Implanted Word — James 1:18 & 21
- “James wants the original readers to be aware of this, and secure in their regeneration, so that they would treasure Christ and his Word. This is the explanation for why we love the Scriptures!” CJ Mahaney
- “Another reason for a book on the new birth is to help followers of Christ to know what really happened to us when we were converted. It is far more glorious than many think it is. It is also more glorious than I think it is. It is wonderful beyond all human comprehension. The new birth is not a work of man. No human being makes the new birth happen. No preacher and no writer can make it happen. It happens to us, not by us. But it always happens through the word of God. When you are truly born again and grow in the grace and knowledge of what the Lord has done for you, your fellowship with God will be sweet, and your assurance that he is your Father will be deep. I want that for you. If you know what really happened to you in your new birth, you will treasure God and his Spirit and his Son and his word more highly than you ever have. In this, Christ will be glorified.” John Piper
Questions to Consider:
- Who has implanted the Word into the hearts of believers? Why?
- Are you aware of the miracle of your own salvation? How secure are you in this great salvation, knowing that it is the work of God?
- Read Ephesians 2:1-9. Even we were dead, He made us alive! Thank God for the Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have been taken from death to life forevermore! Ask that God would give you a deeper appreciation of this fact by the work of his Spirit.
Day 4: Meekness and Attentiveness — James 1:21
- “The meek do not rail against the Lord in their persecution. They might not understand why something has happened to them - it is hard to understand how God’s love and our own suffering coexist - but the meek don’t demand answers. Instead they trust God because of who he is, what he has said, and what he has done. They wait. They walk before the Lord in humble obedience. But meekness might not describe you. Instead, you might insist on understanding rather than trust. Your questions to God might verge on the angry and accusing rather than submissive.” Ed Welch
- “We might wonder why the ever practical James does not proceed to outline schemes of daily Bible reading or the like, for surely these are the ways in which we offer a willing ear to the voice of God. But he does not help us in this way. Rather, he goes deeper, for there is little point in schemes and times if we have not got an attentive spirit. It is possible to be unfailingly regular in Bible reading, but to achieve no more than have moved the book-mark forward, this is reading unrelated to an attentive spirit. The word is read but not heard.” Alec Motyer
- “It (God’s word) just needs meekness to activate its immense powers.” Alec Motyer
Questions to Consider:
- Why is it necessary for a Christian to put away filthiness and rampant wickedness before they can be meek and attentive to God’s Word?
- What attitudes do you approach the Bible with? How do they reflect your own value of God’s Word? Do they reflect a desire for obedience and conformity to Jesus?
- What sins do you need to be rescued from by the Word of God?
- Read Psalm 1. God made us to thrive on his Word. Delighting in and obeying it is how we not only put away our sin, but also take up joy in our Lord Jesus. Thank God for his Word, what it does, your unmerited access to it, and that he would help you treasure it for it’s immeasurable worth.
Questions for Group Discussion:
- Is there an individual in the group you could identify as a good listener? What could you specifically identify that makes them gifted in this way?
- Can you give an example of a time you struggled to discern between the anger mentioned in James 1:19 and a righteous anger? What did it reveal about your heart?
- Can you recall a time you observed someone in your group or in the church (by the grace of God) glorify God in the midst of suffering by being slow to anger and/or quick to listen?
- As CJ asked reflectively in his sermon in reference to sin, “What do you need to put away?”
- Could you briefly recollect the first time you were aware you had received the implanted Word after your conversion?