Sundays | 9am & 10:30am

Attitude Matters: James 1:19-20

Recipe for Trials
Chad Melton

The two verses we are examining today are the heart of James’ letter. The vocabulary is simple and impossible to misunderstand. They also are among the most demanding orders to obey consistently.

Our Groups ministry is about building a community of discipleship where friendships deepen and people flourish. As we learn scripture, we should also grow in our relationships with Jesus and each other. Honesty is essential. As we strive to live out the verses before us today, let’s recommit ourselves to the Great Commandments.

Sermon Summary

Pastor Chad Melton began with a humorous cooking illustration of how bad a meal can turn out if one part of the recipe isn’t followed. We’ve all been there. If getting things to turn out right is a challenge in cooking, it’s much harder with life’s big decisions. Fortunately, the Bible provides wonderful guidance – but we must follow it correctly.

In today’s text, James lays out the essential core of his letter. So far, he has taught us that our trials can produce endurance, wisdom, and happiness, and now he tells us what to do: Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. These instructions are more than good advice. They are the recipe for success. The rest of the letter will expand on these three points, and each will be a challenge because they all are contrary to our sinful nature.

James has taught us much about living a righteous life in a few simple words. All of it is about following God’s leadership through the daily trials of life. When we don’t, the trials become temptations of our selfish nature, and we are easily offended. James taught us that man’s anger does not produce the righteousness of God. That ruins the recipe every time.

Group Discussion with Video

READ ALOUD> >

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.—James 1:19-20 (ESV)

WATCH> the video clip at this link as a group:

ASK> What doe sit mean to be quick to hear? Can you name someone who is a good listener? Describe them.

ASK> Commenting on being slow to speak, the famous Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, writer, and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl said, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Can you think of an example of when you should have waited before you spoke? How might that help with our spouse, children, and friends?


ASK> Anger is common to each of us. It frequently leads to harsh words. What was an example of an angry outburst that you now regret? Did you seek forgiveness for it?

CONNECT> the correct words from Row A to Row B according to James…

A: Learning, Action
B: Quickness, Slowness

ASK> What happens if you get it backward?

ASK> How can the anger of man produce the righteousness of God? Does verse 20 allow for exceptions to the rule?

READ> Ephesians 4:26 and Colossians 3:8

ASK> Are these verses in conflict with James 1:19-20? Are they in conflict with each other? Why or Why not?

READ> Romans 12:19-21

ASK> How does this scripture tell us to respond to an offense?

READ> In his book “Liberal Arts for the Christian Life,” Baylor professor Alan Jacobs tells says


‘…in any given conversation, the real initiator is the person who listens, not the one who speaks. After all, who would ever speak unless they believed that someone would be listening? It is the listener who elicits the speech and brings it forth. The speaker counts on a responsive listener.—Alan Jacobs

We want our listeners to contribute something new to what we have said and enrich our words when we speak. Those assumptions may be a little surprising at first but think about face-to-face conversations with our friends about important issues. When you’re pouring out your heart to others, you don’t want them to nod and repeat your last few words. You want them to offer their own words to indicate that they have heard you and thought about what you’ve said—have processed it in some meaningful way.

ASK> How is this kind of active listening essential to loving our neighbors as ourselves?

PRAY> Ask the group if they have any prayer requests and write them down. Allow everyone a chance to pray and then close by praying for each person you took note of. It’s ok to read from your notes while praying, and the more specifics you say out loud (especially people’s names), the better.

FOLLOW-UP> After the meeting, text or call your group members. Ask them how things are going for them and how you can pray for them.
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