Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)
Observe in the text that believers ought to be:
- Caring (v19)
Quick to hear and slow to speak – we need to listen conscientiously and be temperate in speech.
- Calm (v20)
Shun anger (which produces the wickedness of the devil), stay calm and seek the righteousness of God.
- Consecrated (v21)
Pursue sanctification. Reject wickedness, receive the Word in meekness (strength under control) and be redeemed (it will fix your head, heart and your life).
- Congruent (v22-24)
Your life must be congruent with the Word of God. Hear the Word, heed the Word (integrity and congruency).
- Cognisant (v25-26):
Having and showing knowledge and understanding. Being temperate in tongue and thorough in thought. Excessive speaking can lead you into a deceived heart and your religion becomes worthless.
- Clean (v27)
Set apart and holy. Seek God’s glory (that is pure and undefiled before the Father) and love your neighbour as yourself (serve God’s purposes). Visit orphans and widows in their affliction (the most vulnerable) and seek God’s grace.